Monthly ArchiveNovember 2006



chicago-condos Administrator on 30 Nov 2006

Sometimes It IS Smarter to Rent

Thinking about buying a condo, but nervous about making the commitment? Rent one instead.

A lot of real estate “investors” thought they could make easy money by buying condos and “flipping” them for a profit. They thought the real-estate boom would never end, that prices would continue to climb forever . . .

They were wrong. And that’s good news for you.

If you’re attracted to condo living because you want to live in the heart of Chicago . . . because you don’t want to be bothered with lawn-care and gutters that need cleaning . . . there are killer deals to be had in condo rental units.

There’s been a flood of new condo units hitting the Chicago market in the last few years, and more are being built all the time. Which makes buying a condo right now something of a risk, unless you’re planning to live in it for a good long time.

Condo prices are coming down . . . condos are available in virtually every Chicago neighborhood and suburb . . . and builders are offering very attractive incentive/upgrade packages on their new-construction units. All these factors make it very difficult for condo owners to re-sell their units when they’re ready to “upgrade” to a townhome or single-family residence–which the vast majority of condo owners end up doing.

They can’t find buyers, yet they need to move and can’t afford to let the condo sit vacant. So they become landlords.

When you start looking into renting a condo, keep these things in mind . . .

The owner who’s renting his condo must compete with builders who are selling condos; after all, why would you want to rent a property if you could own a comparable one for less money? Do your research, find out what condos are selling for in the area where you’re planning to rent–and show your potential landlord what he’s up against. Demand a monthly rent that’s fair and competitive.

Any landlord knows that a good long-term tenant–one who pays the rent on time and doesn’t trash the property–is worth his weight in gold. When a landlord is looking for a new tenant to fill an empty unit, he bleeds money–because he still has to make the mortgage payment and condo fee every month.

Use this knowledge to make sure your landlord keeps up the property and treats you well. Don’t be afraid of threatening to move out. This is especially effective in buildings where multiple units are for rent, because the more rental properties there are in a condo building, the less likely it is that any of those units will ever get re-sold.

Why? Most mortgage lenders will reject a condo buyer’s application unless two-thirds of the building is owner-occupied. (Renter-filled buildings tend to decline in value vaster, putting the lender’s loan at risk.)

So, if you want to enjoy the condo lifestyle now, but plan to upgrade in the near future, don’t buy and put your financial future at risk. Rent instead.

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chicago-condos & Chicago Real Estate Administrator on 21 Nov 2006

Chicago Condos: Sales Down in Third Quarter

The Chicago condo market has seen an influx of recent condominium developments. New Chicago real estate increases daily as new plans are calculated to convert apartments to condominiums, build new buildings, and also hotel condos are becoming quite prevalent. This has cause an every increasing peak in Chicago condos for sale, which needless to say gives buyers more and more options, so increases the time that buyers are taking to make a solid decision.

Yesterday, Chicagobusiness.com posted:

New condo sales down again in 3Q
Sales of new condos and townhouses downtown fell 35% to 1,324 in the third quarter compared to the year-earlier period. Sales dropped 11.5% from the second quarter, the second straight quarterly decline, according to a new report by Appraisal Research Counselors. Sales of condos newly converted from apartments or other types of space — a small slice of the market — rose 80%, but sales of new-construction condos dropped 38% from the second quarter. Appraisal Research predicts a record 6,500 new-construction condos will begin marketing this year, compared with 4,700 last year. [Eddie Baeb]

This could be discouraging to condo developers and those trying to sell their Chicago condos as well. However, supply and demand are the name of the game. Currently there is a limitless supply for buyers which makes the demand for Chicago condos decrease. Though this seems like it could end disasterously, still condos are being constructed and planned new-construction condos are abundant. Why? Developers realize that the demand for high-quality housing and vaction homes will remain in tact as long as they provide condo buyers with the best of the best.

Luxury Chicago condos are becoming a trendsetter and areas like California have yet to catch on. So currently the efforts are localized. Developers however continue on at a steady pace and with good reason. Chicago is one of the major metropolitan areas of the nation. Though Chicagoans may not be clawing down doors to purchase new-construction condos, and condo conversions, the consistent need for vacation and secondary homes has grown in the past few years.

With that, my belief is that Developers and investors are planning for the future, as buyers await the next best buy those who know about any market know, buy low, sell high, but also buy “in” when there are less buyers and you technically are buying low. And with all the rebates and promotional cutbacks, Chicago condos are still a great investment.

Rarely will you see a starving or homeless real estate agent. Why? Because they know the value of real estate and Chicago real estate is one of the most valueable investments in the country.

Buyers “Buy”, Sellers “Sell”, and in the end great deals are made. Interested in knowing more about the Chicago condos available to you? Find Chicago condos by neighborhood, area, type, all on Chicagocondodirectory.com.

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chicago-condos & Chicago Homes & Condominium Chicago Administrator on 16 Nov 2006

Chicago Condo Buyers: Ensure You Buy the Best

Many condo buyers are subject to the allure of the luxury living of upscale condominiums.  However, many people fail to ask the appropriate questions especially during pre-sale time.  Whether it’s a new construction condos, condo conversions or hotel condos, Chicagoans must always inquire about certain aspects that pertain to the building structure of what could be their next new home.

Developers, the NAHB - National Association of Home Builders, and the NAR - National Association of Realtors all track complaints issued by condo owners and all list noise as one of the top three typical complaints of Chicago condo owners.  There are many codes in place that regulate the minimum STC level for condominium construction.

What is STC?  STC in building terms is sound transmission class and this is the level at which sound travels through different mediums.  Building codes today have improved, however STC ratings for condo buildings in Chicago have been known to range from 30 to 65.  In terms of sound reduction, an STC of 20 lets relatively all sound pass through, so you’re very likely to hear, interpret, and be annoyed by your neighbors.  A standard in place now is an STC of 30, which reduces sound greatly, however, you’re still very likely to know what your neighbors favortie band or television show is because these types of high decibal sounds still creap through.

If you’re looking to purchase a condo in Chicago, be sure to ask what the STC rating of the walls you will share with your neighbors will be, as this could make or break your condo buying experience.

Condo conversion units typically don’t have the best STC rating as they were previously apartments and since they weren’t initially intended for long-term use the cost of developing highy condensed and insulated walls for purposes of sound reduction is neither economical nor a priority.

In Chicago new construction condos are very likely to have excellent STC ratings as the codes in Chicagoland have improved, but also, the developers have targeted Chicago’s downtown for many of their major developments and noise reduction in metropolitan locations is a must.  But be sure to inquire during pre-sales to ensure you get what you pay for.

Chicago hotel condos offer a unique trait in that they build the condo units with the same resilience and fortitude as they do the hotel units.  Very seldom will you find a hotel condo that has been built or is in the making, that isn’t constructed for mass sound reduction.  Why?  Well hotel developers know that luxury is key and ensuring the customers satisfaction is #1.  Since this is the case, hotel condos encompass the same standards as the hotel and so far, all the hotel condos in Chicago already have a predetermined following.  Would you expect to stay at the Hilton and hear all the hustle and bustle of the wedding reception being held in the banquet hall below?  Not at all….if so, why would you stay at the Hilton.

Question before you purchase any condominium unit as you never want to regret selecting the wrong Chicago home.  If you do have problems with noise, don’t forget that this is why you have a home owners association in place whenever you purchase your new condo.  The fees may seem hefty, however, the association is there to assist you in any qualms you may have with the building and your living environment.

Chicago condos Chicago hotel condos condominiums chicago

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