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chicago-condos & Chicago Real Estate & Chicago Homes & Chicago Property & downtown chicago condos & pre-construction condos in chicago & Condominium Chicago & condos for sale in chicago Administrator on 07 Dec 2006

Parkside of Old Town Will Replace Cabrini Green

Parkside of Old Town, a multifamily development with over 760 townhomes, condos and apartments, is now under construction on Chicago’s Near North Side. This $225 million venture will replace some of the Cabrini Green housing projects. The buildings that composed Cabrini Green once held 35,000 people, but only about 1,500 are left.

The redevelopment of this area–bordered by Seward Park and Larrabee, Division and Oak streets–is part of the $1.5-billion CHA “Plan for Transformation,” which has demolished high-rise public housing towers and developed mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhoods in their place.

Former residents have formed a development partnership with two companies, and Kimball Hill Urban Centers, to build Parkside. When it is finished, the project will be made up of about 20% low-income housing, 30% rental housing for current and returning Cabrini residents, and 50% market-rate housing and apartments.

Parkside will replace three of Cabrini’s high-rise buildings, but Peter Holsten, president of Holsten Real Estate Development Corp., says that it shouldn’t carry with it any of the stigma of the gang-infested former projects. A similar project managed by his company, a development called North Town Village, has been quite successful, with about the same combination of market-rate and affordable homes and few vacancies. “If it’s a strong area, people will want to live there,” Holsten says.

Construction has begun on 280 homes–townhomes starting at $499,000 and condominiums priced from the low $200s. The company has about 100 contracts for the for-sale units, and once the firm sells another 14 units, Holsten said construction can begin on the second condominium high-rise building.

Chicago real estate, Chicago condos, Chicago homes, Chicago townhomes, Old Town, Near North Side

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Chicago Real Estate & Chicago Homes & Chicago Property Administrator on 06 Dec 2006

Selling Your Home? Have It Inspected First

Most sellers wait for a buyer’s offer before having their homes inspected. But when buyers’ inspectors become involved, they bring with them a costly flood of demands. Buyers ask for the maximum of repairs and upgrades, and sellers–often worried by a lack of competing offers–tend to give in.

Rob Kent of Pittsburgh Property Inspectors in Pennsylvania says that only 1 to 2% of his business is for sellers. He maintains that the time to identify problems is early, when “the seller has the chance to shop around for the lowest price [to repair them].”

Sellers can also manage the scope of the work done to resolve problems. If a basement shows evidence of moisture, for example, a buyer may demand elaborate solutions costing upwards of $10,000. But Kent says it “could just be the foundation needs to be regarded” to channel water clear of the walls–which can be done for under $500.

“I see that constantly–where the seller could control their costs but they wait too long,” Kent says.

Linda Lehman, a newly single home seller in Charlotte, NC, was “scared that . . . I’d have to make $10,000 to $20,000 in repairs” in order to sell her 30-year-old home. She worried that problem areas would pare down her asking price, and also that she’d need to make expensive repairs to satisfy buyers–both of which would cut her proceeds.

Instead, she invested $600 on her own home inspection, and considers it well worth the price.

“It was worth it to have the peace of mind that I don’t have any major issues,” she says. She’s also considering adding a home warranty policy assuring buyers that any problems with appliances and heating/cooling systems are covered.

Lehman advises all single women to hire an inspector before entering the selling market.

“I think buyers tend to look at anything wrong as symptomatic that the house has problems, and it gives them the idea they can walk from the deal,” Lehman says. “I wanted things to be as right as they can, so there are no surprises at the end.”

Chicago real estate, Chicago homes, home sellers, sell your home

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chicago-condos & Chicago Real Estate & Chicago Homes & Chicago Property Administrator on 05 Dec 2006

What’s Normal? Conflicting Views On Slow Housing Market

Real estate experts hold a number of different views about today’s housing market–often at odds with one another.

The Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR) said on November 28th that October’s combined single-family and condo sales in the Chicago area were 15.4% behind last year’s sales, with prices up less than 1% from the previous year. The median price for single-family homes in October  was $242,000.

Condo sales in the Chicago area dipped about 5%, with prices up by about 3%.

Local real-estate agents say these numbers indicate a return to a “normal” market, with sales declining due to the arrival of autumn–when buyers’ attention is focused on the upcoming holidays and their children’s return to school.

“I don’t think the market is bad,” said North Side agent Pamela Ball, “it’s just normal for fall in a normal year.”

Ball did, however, comment that the properties that are selling are distinctively attractive and well-priced for the market. “[I]f you’ve got a condo on Sheridan Road, for example, and your box is like 400 other boxes, well, it’s slow,” she said.

The president of the IAR, Robert Zoretich, also said the market is “normalizing.” But he added that sellers will have to revise their price expectations before the market picks up again. “There are still people out there waiting for prices to come down . . . If people need to sell right away, they need to adjust their prices,” he said.

While some brokers expect sales to rise again in February when the traditional Spring market starts up, Paul Kasriel, chief economist for Northern Trust in Chicago, disagrees.

“I don’t think we’re going to bottom out on this thing till the latter part of next year,” he said, pointing out a report from the National Association of Realtors that showed nationwide sales flat and prices heading downward.
Chicago homes, Chicago condos, Chicago real estate, real estate prices, real estate market, real estate sales

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