Monthly ArchiveDecember 2006



chicago-condos Administrator on 28 Dec 2006

Buyers Beware: Warranty May Not Cover All Repairs

Virtually every home or condo seller agrees to provide a home warranty if the buyer requests it—and realtors tell every buyer to ask for one. But buyers need to pay attention to what those assurances cover.

Art Chartrand, general counsel for the National Home Service Contract Association, says that in many cases “consumers don’t read their contracts.”

For instance, warranties offered on new construction differ from those on existing homes and condos. Existing-home warranties are actually “service” contracts, says Chartrand, and they only cover repairs on specified equipment. They also may not guarantee replacement on items that can’t be fixed. And most often the home or condo owner has to contact the warranty firm first before contacting a repair service.

Most warranties cost between $300 and $500, and can run higher depending on how comprehensive their coverage is. “Most standard contracts will cover only built-in appliances, but you can get extra coverage for things like free-standing refrigerators,” says Chartrand.

Companies that are licensed in Illinois to offer warranties have to prove every year that they can afford to pay consumer claims. When a claim is filed, the warranty firm is obligated to provide service within 60 days.

If a consumer has a complaint about a warranty company, it is mediated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The department has received about 100 complaints within the last five years. Home or condo owners don’t always win claim disputes, however, according to Michael McRaith, the department’s insurance division director. Sometimes a warranty firm won’t cover a repair because it determines that the damage was present before the homeowner moved in.

“A good repairman can tell if it was cracked or broken [for a long time],” says Chartrand.

Home and condo buyers are encouraged to obtain a complete inspection before making a purchase, including a separate detailed inspection of heating and air-conditioning equipment.
Chicago real estate, Chicago homes, Chicago condos, condo buyers, warranties

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chicago-condos Administrator on 28 Dec 2006

Luxury Chicago Condo Market Slowing?

Phoenix Arizona is a target area when it comes to new real estate development and has been a large participant in the current “luxury condo” boom. This morning as I decided to check on what’s new in the Chicago real estate market and found myself reviewing an article posted on Fox 11 AZ (the Fox news network in Arizona). To my suprise I see a headline entitled “Developers of elite condos prepare for slowdown”.

Now many may ask, “Why were you shocked Jori?” Well primarily because major metropolitan areas tend to follow similar trends, and Arizona is one of the real estate market’s major trend setters. So follows, if the condominium market is slowing in Arizona then undoubtably Chicago condo development will soon come to a halt as well.

Here’s a quick gander/snippet of what I read not but a few hours ago that put me at alarm:

“Currently, more than 30 luxury-condo projects have just been finished or are under construction. More than 20 of the projects, mainly in Phoenix and Scottsdale, have units that cost $1 million or more, according to the Sullivan Group, a real estate analysis and consulting firm. ‘There are just too many of these luxury condos,’ said Bob Kammrath, a Phoenix commercial real estate analyst. ‘For the life of me I can’t fathom why they would be appealing here. People with that kind of money can buy a nice house and hire someone to take care of the yard.’

The National Association of Home Builders says developers and apartment owners jumped on the bandwagon during the boom in condo production and conversions in the last three years when they should have seen it as a warning that the market could become saturated.” — Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

So if most of the nation’s largest real estate development locations follow this trend, it’s safe to say that the consistent erection of new condo buildings and conversion units will soon cease.

Though many may be distraught, this may mean a boost in traditional family home purchases in the near future, as the Chicago housing market has been struggling due to the massive saturation of new homes in the Chicago area.

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Chicago Real Estate Administrator on 28 Dec 2006

South Side Real Estate Developments

As with many areas of Chicago, real estate development is always an issue.  Communities battle with development groups, city officials and planning asssociations are involved with many local neighborhood leaders, consistently consulting, devising, planning and conversing diligently regarding the erection or possibility of new real estate in the Chicago area.

The South Side of Chicago has been an ongoing issue, and recently is the topic of conversation concerning new developing real estate along the lakefront.  The North Shore has undergone extensive redevelopment and prime condominium buildings, townhomes and other lakefront properties have recently been built after long talks regarding Lake Shore Drive and North Shore development proposals.

Now, it’s time for the South Side, with the assistance of Friends of the Parks, to undergo its own changes.  The issue is whether or not development of the South Shore area will be opposed by home owners along the South Shore,  as Friends of the Parks, after year long community talks has proposed the development of , “…an offshore island 100 feet from the stretch of land between 71st and 75th Streets and hundreds of acres of beaches and park facilities, would demonstrably improve the quality of life for many South Side residents and visitors,” Chicago Suntimes stated in its article entitled, South Side lakefront project needs to succeed.

Many compromises will need to be made regarding this issue, however it is forseeable, that Chicago condo owners along the South Shore may oppose this new development as their luxurious view of the lake may be impeded.  Hopefully, even with opposition, funding will be available both privately and through the city as development of the South side area will  further increase the value of Chicago’s lakefront property as a whole and enrich the South Side communities, which have long sought after a way to bring more connectivity and activity to the area as a whole.

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