Market trends indicate buying a good bet in Chicago

By Urban Real Estate

Chicago has historically remained a steady market for home buying and selling as residents have often made Chicago home (versus other markets where second home investing was more prevalent and often also the first to feel the impact of a distressed marketplace).

That said, interest rates remain low and with a lower rate, comes housing affordability. If the Federal Reserve announces interest hikes before the end of the year, it is likely that that, too, will impact mortgage rates, increasing the cost of a home and decreasing the buying power a consumer might have today.

Matt Farrell, managing partner with Urban Real Estate, has these recommendations for contemplating what to do in today’s market:

First, there are great opportunities to buy in the Chicago market. If buyers are on the fence, lower rates today can be locked in through Urban’s recommended lender for a fixed limited time with a pre-approval, giving you the buying power to negotiate strategically on your next purchase. Buyers are not obligated to make any purchase, but at least have the “financial house” in order, with a low interest rate locked in.

Next, sellers are motivated, especially with good offers. A solid offer is better than no offer to a seller and often sellers have a variety of reasons why they may be looking to move. While buyers may have not planned to purchase in the winter, there may be a chance to secure a great primary or investment property and appreciate the residual benefit of a more aggressive decision.

Finally, If interest rates drop in the future, buyers can always refinance. The reality is, that is a better situation to be in rather than to miss a great opportunity, or to not find what one is looking for later. Moreover, as housing prices continue to increase in Chicago, buyers may later fight the battle of both a higher priced home, and higher interest rates.

Contact one of the trusted advisors at Urban Real Estate to help consider buying or selling in this market, and help get on track for a pre-approval with Urban’s preferred lenders who have a loan program right for you at (312) 528-9200 or visit us at UrbanRealEstate.com.

New Eastside’s Urban Real Estate gives back to neighbors (and dogs) in need

By Urban Real Estate

October 2, 2018

The brokers at Urban Real Estate have been involved in giving back to the community and the housing industry since the organization’s inception more than twelve years ago.

It is a goal shared by the brokers, as well as the partners, to give back where they live, work and play.

 

During the back to school season, the team at Urban partnered with no-kill, all-breed dog rescue One Tail at a Time, to help dogs find temporary and permanent homes.

An event held at Urban, 400 E. Randolph, turned a real estate brokerage into a neighborhood hot spot for a doggie meet and greet.

“Our goal isn’t to just make a difference for a dog who could use a great foster or permanent home,” senior partner Michael Emery said. “It is also to bring people and dog lovers together to make our community even stronger with new friends and residents, alike.”

Urban Real Estate has continued to seek ways to strengthen its bond with the community. Long-time advocates on the local, state and national housing scene, Urban brokers have fought for property owner rights for years, and dedicated thousands of hours on issues of affordable housing, property taxes and public safety.

Additionally, Urban continues to remain friends of organizations such as the Union Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, supporting the sustainability and growth of programs for young children and teens in neighborhoods developing better citizens and stronger students.

“We follow our heartstrings where we can, and encourage our brokers to make a difference wherever that may take them,” Emery said. “We will continue to try new things and engage our New Eastside neighbors in every way we can because every voice and hand counts in making our community better.”

 

Reilly announces updates to Parcel O plans

Staff report

In late September, Alderman Brendan Reilly announced that Magellan Development agreed to work a number of public improvements into their project at 193 North Columbus Drive, commonly known as Parcel O.

The public improvements came from a public meeting held with the New Eastside Association of Residents (NEAR) in July. Reilly pointed out that the development group did not need to agree to any public improvements by law, but they agreed to build the improvements after extensive negotiations with Reilly. In a recent newsletter, Reilly credited the public support for the public improvements with the success of the negotiations.

Magellan will pay for the improvements, which are expected to aid pedestrian and traffic safety.

The proposed improvements include a pedway connection through Village Market and Blue Cross/Blue Shield to the greater pedway, improved lighting, public elevators servicing the 3 levels of Columbus Dr., as well as numerous improvements for pedestrians and vehicles.

Some of those improvements include:
•    A new traffic signal will be installed at Upper Columbus and East South Water Street.
•    At the intersection of Upper Columbus Drive and South Water Street, the crosswalk will be realigned on the south leg of the intersection. The east end of the crosswalk will move to the corner next to the Aqua building rather than the corner next to the fire station.
•    At the intersection of Upper Columbus Drive and South Water Street, a curb bump-out on the southwest corner will be installed to narrow the roadway and pedestrian crossing distance on Columbus Drive.

Reilly said the project must get Lakefront Protection Approval from the Chicago Plan Commission, and when that vote occurs, Reilly will announce it in his newsletter.

Reilly unveils revised designs for Lakeshore East

By Jesse Wright | Staff Writer

Published Sept. 4, 2018

More green space and three towers are planned for the I, J, K and L sites in Lakeshore East.

A year after the initial proposal was unveiled for the Lakeshore East development, Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) and developers met in August with members of the community and the New Eastside Association of Residents (NEAR) for an informal discussion of revisions and updates on the project.

The Lakeshore East development will feature public walking and biking ways, intended to
Turn to IJKL, Page 4 facilitate thoroughfare in the area. Rendering courtesy of bKL Architecture

The project will develop land parcels I, J, K and L, which are located from 197 to 302 N. Harbor Drive and from 452 to 500 E. Waterside Drive. Representatives from the Lendlease Development Inc. and Lakeshore East LLC development teams were present.

The key announcement from the meeting was that residents can expect to see a larger park area developed and one less tower. Initially the master plan called for four towers, and hotel space. Now the hotel is scrapped in favor of condominium space. The space will include up to 1,700 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail. The buildings will be approximately between 80 and 45 stories tall. Tom Weeks, a representative for the development team at Lendlease, said he believes the new plan is an improvement.

“I think we have a better plan tonight,” he told the audience. “Had you asked me that a year ago, I would have been skeptical of that.”

The plan includes 27 percent more green space and the elimination of a grand staircase, to be replaced with a meandering path. Developers said the plan is currently about half green space and that should improve pedestrian and bike traffic through the area. The green space will be developed and maintained by private developers but it
will be a public park, similar to Lakeshore East Park.

Alderman Brendan Reilly unveiled updates for the Lakeshore East development plans. The new
designs include one less tower and more green space. Rendering courtesy of bKL Architecture

“We wanted it to be universal access. We wanted it to be universal to all,” said Tom Kerwin, an architect from bKL Architecture.

For the most part, residents’ concerns and complaints were focused on traffic and safety, both of which Alderman Reilly said the development group would continue to address.

Upon news of the larger green space, several residents complained of people using illicit substances and homelessness in nearby parks. Reilly suggested residents call 911 and be willing to make an official complaint if they see illegal activity in parks.

The proposed green space will have a camera system and a funnel to
direct pedestrians through surveillance areas, he said.

“You’ll be able to get eyes east and west,” Reilly said. “We will know who’s going through the neighborhood.”

Last summer Reilly introduced construction plans to the NEAR group and since then, his office has been receiving feedback.

“If we have to say no, I’ve failed in my job because I’ve failed to find the middle ground and move the project forward.” – Alderman Brendan Reilly

Reilly has not signed off on the project and the meeting was intended to show how resident feedback has been incorporated into the designs.

“Negotiations have been many, many, many hours long,” Reilly told the audience at the start of the meeting. Those negotiations, he said, stemmed from community concerns.

“I don’t know if you’ve read, but there’s a story about the municipal race and it’s suggested there’s a habit that I drive developers crazy,” Reilly said. “And while I cringed a
little bit, I realized it’s part of doing my job.” Reilly told the audience he must also work for business interests.

“If we have to say no, I’ve failed in my job because I’ve failed to find the middle ground and move the project forward,” he said.

One objection he would not entertain was that of residents who complained the
new development would block views.

“I can’t protect your view,” Reilly told a resident. “That’s not the role of an alderman and that’s not how development works in a big city. If you want me to protect your view, I’m not your guy.”

Another concern involved pedway development. Several residents asked about forcing developers to build an underground pedestrian walkway but Reilly said that wasn’t going to happen.

“I don’t have the jurisdiction to assign a $10 million dollar obligation for a pedway system,” he said.

Following the meeting, Reilly said he
thought the discussion went well and while he does not expect to have any more public meetings on the development, his office is still taking resident concerns. Alderman Brendan Reilly can be contacted via his website, ward42chicago.com.

Dogs seeking a ‘furever’ home in New Eastside area

By Urban Real Estate

Join Urban Real Estate for its first-ever Urban Furever Home Pet Adoption event, with partner One Tail At A Time Dog Rescue, a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue. On Aug. 26, from 1–3 p.m. the New Eastside real estate brokerage will be hosting the event on the first floor of its office at 400 E. Randolph St.

“With our business focused on human clients, we thought we should take the opportunity to welcome some new four-legged neighbors to our great community—dogs who need help finding their ‘furever’ home,” said Michael Emery, senior partner at Urban Real Estate.

“We are proud to embark on this endeavor with One Tail At A Time, rescuing more than 550 dogs a year from Chicago and across the country.”

The Bucktown-based dog rescue offers vaccine clinics and supports the Chicago-land Rescue and Intervention Support Program shelter diversion program. They are also working on a soon-to-be implemented isolation clinic for dogs who need special care, offering bustling adoption and foster programs.

Jennifer Rogers, adoption counselor with One Tail At A Time, relies on the dedication of the group’s volunteers, and foster and adoption families to help bring these dogs to Chicago’s best homes.

Serious adoption applicants can pre-apply at OneTail.org prior to the event, or visit its Bucktown location during business hours.

“Neighbors can plan on coming to the Urban event to meet a few of the dogs that we will have available for adoption, as well as learn more about how to get involved,” Rogers said.

The Urban event will include prizes, surprises, and refreshments for adults and the four-legged neighbors.

Dogs seeking a ‘furever’ home in New Eastside

 By Urban Real Estate

 Published August 1, 2018

Join Urban Real Estate for its first-ever Urban Furever Home Pet Adoption event, with partner One Tail At A Time Dog Rescue, a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue. On Aug. 26, from 1–3 p.m. the New Eastside real estate brokerage will be hosting the event on the first floor of its office at 400 E. Randolph St.

“With our business focused on human clients, we thought we should take the opportunity to welcome some new fourlegged neighbors to our great community—dogs who need help finding their ‘furever’ home,” said Michael Emery, senior partner at Urban Real Estate. “We are proud to embark on this endeavor with One Tail At A Time, rescuing more than 550 dogs a year from Chicago and across the country.”

The Bucktown-based dog rescue offers vaccine clinics and supports the Chicagoland Rescue and Intervention Support Program shelter diversion program. They are also working on a soon-to-be implemented isolation clinic for dogs who need special care, offering bustling adoption and foster programs.

 

Jennifer Rogers, adoption counselor with One Tail At A Time, relies on the dedication of the group’s volunteers, and foster and adoption families to help bring these dogs to Chicago’s best homes. Serious adoption applicants can pre-apply at OneTail.org prior to the event, or visit its Bucktown location during business hours. “Neighbors can plan on coming to the Urban event to meet a few of the dogs that we will have available for adoption, as well as learn more about how to get involved,” Rogers said. The Urban event will include prizes, surprises, and refreshments for adults and the four-legged neighbors.

Setting the stage for selling success

By Urban Real Estate

Published July 4, 2018 

This New Eastside home for sale was not picture-perfect overnight. For many, the idea of getting a home this ready can seem overwhelming. The reality is, with the right broker, it isn’t hard — but it is important.

In 2017, the National Association of Realtors said 90 percent of home searches began online. Photos, videos, and virtual tours are the first impression. The 360 E. Randolph unit 2705-06 has been making great first impressions. In fact, it was recently featured as the Chicago Tribune Home of the Week. But its real story is the staging behind its glory.

“We continue to market each and every one of our clients’
properties with pride, and tell their best story possible.”
– Michael Emery

Michael Emery, senior partner, Urban Real Estate, shares his philosophy when
marketing a listing.

“It’s not that a home may not be elegant or lovely — it’s often cluttered or filled with too many personal items that do not allow a buyer the ability to envision their own life in the space,” says Emery. “This is where a stager comes in and creates a picture-perfect home ready for market. Our client leaves everything to us. We work with our team, their vast selection of furnishings and details and revamp the home to show-
case the space.”

Industry-acclaimed stager David Cieslak, with Signature Chicago, is brought in by Urban for projects like 360 E. Randolph to make a home look like a masterpiece.

If someone is contemplating selling, Cieslak said, it’s time to think about cleaning house.

“It’s a great time to purge items you’ve been meaning to part ways with,” Cieslak
said. “There are several organizations throughout Chicago that appreciate dona-
tions. Consider moving to a new home a fresh start.”

Cieslak also notes that when cleaning shelves, remove at least 50 percent of the
items. This will create more room and give the illusion of more space—a plus to buyers looking to experience all the space has to offer.

“There are properties that are special and it shows. They get media attention because they are unique—because they have a story to tell,” Emery added. “We continue to market each and every one of our clients’ properties with pride, and tell their best story possible.”

Contact a local Urban brokers at Urban-RealEstate.com or (312) 528-9200.

Why the $500–850K home in New Eastside may be more valuable than you realize

By Urban Real Estate

For many years in the Near North Side and our New Eastside neighborhood, renovation options included constructing features like smarter floor plans and adding standard in-unit conveniences like washer and dryers. Some residences offered better outdoor space, along with finishes that were reasonable and didn’t break the bank.

Of course, most were in a more affordable price bracket than they are today.

“Today’s future of new construction takes luxury, posh appointments and in-building amenities to a whole new level, making some of the entry units of soon-to-be-delivered homes in new buildings such as the Vista start well in the $1 million range,” said Michael Emery, a senior partner at Urban Real Estate.

“It’s exciting, and increases the value of all our homes, however it does make the $500–850K market more desirable than ever before, as it is a price-point for a larger unit that is becoming a rarity in our neighborhood.”

If you are looking to sell a home within this price range, consider what you own as a treasure that will be hard for buyers to find anywhere else. A two bedroom within this range is a true gem and a rarity as time progresses. If you’re in the process of searching for a new home, this year may be an ideal time to think about your next move and garner top dollar for your property.

“We recommend clients meet with their realtor early in the process, and create a list of ‘what’s necessary’ in terms of updates and renovation, versus ‘what isn’t’ and potentially, where a credit can be issued to a buyer when that time comes,” said Emery. “It helps homeowners prioritize their dollars and resources, and could eliminate headaches for improvements that may be avoidable.”

Today’s real estate opportunities are endless, and with great representation, can be prosperous for both the seller and buyer alike.

Contact Urban Real Estate at (312) 528-9200 or visit UrbanRealEstate.com

Published June 4, 2018

What does this summer market mean for you?

By Urban Real Estate

Whether you’re buying or selling property, the robust summer real estate market makes this upcoming selling season a unique opportunity for those on the fence about entering the market. In April, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported a climb of 1.1 percent in existing-home sales. However even with this increase, overall property sales are lagging as home prices continue to climb, putting pressure on what prospective buyers are
able to afford.

So, where does this put you as a buyer or seller? “Well, if you’re considering selling, there is a continued shortage of homes on the market, and yes, buyers will pay top dollar, and often more than list, for a home that is priced compellingly,” said Michael Emery, senior partner at Urban Real Estate. “Now is a great time for anyone contemplating a sale of an investment property, or one who is seeking their next home to sell. A great strategy can make you money on your purchase and
your sale.”

If you’re a renter or are interested in making your first purchase, working with a real estate broker and lender can help get your “credit house” in order. “There is nothing more important than working with a broker to assess what you are hoping to accomplish, what you can afford and work with a team to help you realize those goals. Often, that preparation makes for a perfect parlay when shopping. Buyers can make an offer with confidence and a plan,” Emery adds.

At the New Eastside’s Urban Real Estate, brokers are available for a consultation any time to help you determine what your home’s value is, help walk you through planning for your next transaction, and protecting the greatest investment you will make. For more, drop by the Urban Real Estate office at 400 E. Randolph St., visit UrbanRealEstate.com or call (312) 528-9200.

Published May 3.

 

Midwest buyers feel optimistic about buying, HOME survey says

By Urban Real Estate

In the full swing of another spring in Chicago’s real estate market, the climate has slightly changed from recent years and yes—it will make a difference. In the first quarter of the year alone, mortgage rates have increased to a four-year high. Paired with a critical shortage of home listings in many markets, including ours, this has sparked a hike in home prices making for a highly-competitive climate.

The National Association of Realtors first quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey looked at what these trends mean for real estate and found that while many buyers feel that now is a good time to buy, this attitude was most prevalent in the Midwest and South regions.

According to Urban Real Estate managing partner Matt Farrell, this positive change is due to new opportunities. “Sellers have the tremendous opportunity to sell today as options are fewer, and those that are available are priced at a premium, and often garner rapid, multiple offers if priced correctly,” he said. “The goal is to strategically consider what your home’s value is against other homes available, and welcome those competing for a piece of the pie where few homes are available for sale.”

Those on the fence about buying a home have an important decision to make. According to Urban Real Estate senior partner Michael Emery, the survey indicates most potential buyers feel positive about the general economy. However, the fear buyers have about their own financial situation can be daunting.

“Sitting down with your trusted real estate advisor and a lender to review your buying power today is critical if you are on the fence,” said Emery. “Experienced brokers can help you understand what investment makes the most sense for you, and how to help you find an affordable option that meets your needs.”

To contact New Eastside’s Urban Real Estate, call (312) 528-9200 or visit UrbanRealEstate.com

Published April 11, 2018

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