Getting to the ‘finish line’ — decorating and upgrade tips

(Published July 31, 2019)

By Urban Real Estate

Deciding how to invest in a condo remodel is always a balance between the improvements made for your own enjoyment and those made with the expectation that they will positively increase the value of a home.

High-end finishes and appliances are a great way to start, however, not everyone will pay for your gold toilet or you pink granite. Others may see your finishes as a detriment, costing you more at the closing table.

So what’s the right solution? Michael Emery, senior partner and broker at Urban Real Estate, recommends having a plan, and sticking to it.

“If you are trying to make your house your home, be bold and invest smartly in finishes, flooring, molding and appliances. That will add value, but also make you feel like your home is your palace. Any time you have a thoughtful color scheme, top-notch touches and a home that looks stellar, you will do well,” he said.

The New Eastside brokerage recently signed a contract for a new listing at 400 E. Randolph Unit 2119 that is certain to break records.

“This particular listing is done right and is a true palace in the sky,” Emery said. “There is not a single detail left untouched in this two bedroom, two bathroom, 1,250 square foot residence. Everything from its oversized entrance, to the crystal wall sconces, paired with its ceiling moldings and perimeter lighting, this home is show-stopping in every way, a true hidden gem in the heart of our neighborhood.” 

The home also boasts hues in gold leaf and crepe antique, an open plan kitchen with thick marble, an elegant breakfast bar, a handmade mosaic glass wall in the master bath and a redesigned layout with hidden features for unusual—yet clever—storage areas.

“This home is the perfect example of class, finishes and appliances which all will help bring in top dollar for this home,” Emery said. 

The listing price is $715,000. For more information on this incredible residence, contact Michael Emery at (312) 528-9288 or email Michael@urbanre.com, or visit UrbanRealEstate.com for 400 E. Randolph, Unit 2119. 

April snow showers haven’t brought May flowers to Chicago’s housing market – What next?

(Published on April 29, 2019)

By Urban Real Estate

Chicago’s weather has historically played a role in the health of the local housing market. Better weather has created more desire for buyers to get out and see what’s out there — and, by contrast, snowstorms and colder temperatures have kept buyers indoors and out of sight. This season has been no different.

The Chicago metro area saw 8,122 homes sell in March, up over 5,600 homes sold in February, however down 10 percent from the same period last year, according to a monthly report from the Illinois Association of Realtors. The city of Chicago had a greater dip, of more than 13 percent.

“Continued poor weather into the final days of April will indicate a stalled spring market,” says Michael Emery, senior partner, Urban Real Estate. “Chicago remains a city where buyers seek out specific neighborhoods, amenities, and transportation access based on their own professional, investment or second-home needs.”

Many argue whether or not continued low interest rates may also lead to a less aggressive buying market. “Buyers not threatened by the idea that their money may get them less house in the imminent future can oftentimes be less incentive to get off the fence. In the housing market nothing is certain, however prices will likely continue to go up in more Chicago’s desirable neighborhoods, and that impact is amplified where new construction offering smaller units will also cost more,” Emery adds.

“If selling is on your mind, have a game plan as to where you would go if you sold. Be ready to prepare a home that is camera-perfect and priced compellingly, especially in the New Eastside and surrounding areas, and the right offer at the right time will come,” notes Emery.

For more on local trends, if now is the right time for you to buy, or to discuss what pricing your home might look like, contact your neighbors at Urban Real Estate for a full consultation at (312) 528-9200, or visit us UrbanRealEstate.com.

Mega companies coming to downtown Chicago leads to opportunities in housing market

By Urban Real Estate

A new year has brought a wait-and-see attitude as the national climate, interest rates and a major local mayoral election bring some pause to buyers and sellers looking to make their next move. Chicago City Hall, the future of the city’s pension plan and property tax proposals all have people watching to see what the next Chicago will look like.

Multinational companies, however, have bigger bets set on the Windy City and that might be the key difference to our future over any other market.

Matt Farrell, managing broker of Urban Real Estate, sees this as the opportunity that makes downtown neighborhoods desirable even when the national and local climate may differ.

“Each of these companies has hundreds of employees who are also making their move into the city. Some are renters, others are prospective buyers. They all need a place to live, and there are few communities like the New Eastside that offer an immense level of convenience, privacy and beauty, all within steps of the hustle and bustle of the city.”

Chicago has a great deal to offer, both to companies and residents.

“There is really no surprise as to why this city continues to draw investors and businesses from across the globe,” Farrell added. “We may have our winters, but the access to public transportation, universities, museums, medical systems, an unrivaled lakefront setting, paired with O’Hare’s planned expansion, make Chicago the perfect fit.”

“The best advice we can give our seller clients is to do everything they can to make their homes look as pristine as possible. Beautiful, updated homes will always do better than a home that hasn’t been tended to. Consider your own personal and financial goals, and plan whether this may be the time to sell your home or to seek a second home at a great price,” Farrell said. “The market pace may have stabilized, but Chicago has and will continue to find its way to continued growth.”

The things in your home really should bring you joy

By Urban Real Estate

Winter in Chicago is the perfect opportunity to stay inside and tidy up. With the popularity of organizer-extraordinaire Marie Kondo’s Netflix hit “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” many are turning closets inside-out with the goal of finding happiness while decluttering.  

In real estate, decluttering ensures that a prospective buyer can “visualize” themselves in a space, so that a buyer is less focused on your life, and more focused on the home. The bonus is that living in a residence that looks and feels great is a win, all the way around.

Kondo’s six-step method is both a physical and emotional journey. The importance of loving your space isn’t just about the walls you live in – but also the momentos that share your home, as well. Michael Emery, senior partner and broker with Urban Real Estate, sees clients who struggle with what to do with belongings.

“When we are preparing a home for sale, all things will need to go at some point, so we recommend starting that packing process before we bring buyers in the door,” Emery said. “The goal behind bringing joy to your home is compounded with emotionally being prepared to remove a loved one’s belongings who has passed, clothes that simply don’t fit or you will never wear, or items from your children that simply need a new place other than your front closet,” Emeray adds.

As you declutter, think about how you want to use the items in your home. Some things you might want to keep, but it may not be necessary to keep them in your home.

“That’s what storage facilities are for. Think about what could go where, what you might keep for a second home or investment property, or what could be better used by someone else you know, and proceed confidently,” Emery added.

Contact us at Urban Real Estate for a consultation on the resources we have for organizing and staging, or for your next home. UrbanRealEstate.com or (312) 528-9200.

[Winter is a great time to declutter a home. Photo courtesy Urban Real Estate]

It’s a new year – Is the time right for a second home?

By Urban Real Estate

Each year, we set out a list of resolutions and goals — things to achieve in the new year — but some goals are more important than others.

One important goal is understanding what your real estate aims are and deciding where you want to go and how you want to get there.

“The beginning of the new year is the ideal time to map out your short and long-term real estate dreams,” says Michael Emery, senior partner, Urban Real Estate. “Buying a second home is both rewarding and can generate revenue until you are ready to enjoy it. Think about recreational climates, cities where the opportunity of short-term rental services are welcome and where they make sense.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, 45 percent of investment buyers bought their investment property to generate income through renting the property. Of those surveyed, 24 percent of those with investment properties rented the property in 2017 as a short-term rental.

Urban Real Estate agents work with clients and help them consider not only their investment buying options in Chicago but in other cities as well. Whether a buyer is considering cottages in Michigan, homes on golf courses in Florida or a chalet in Vail, being able to set yourself up for making that dream a reality doesn’t need to seem out of reach.

“We have a network of brokers across the country we work with to help identify just what might work for you, and the lifestyle markers you hope to realize with its immediate purchase,” Emery says.

Jumbo loan products paired with ways to generate income for the investor can make the dream of second-home ownership a more attainable reality. “Vacation rental services can help you cover many of the costs related to a turn-key or fixer-upper purchase in an attractive community which welcomes short-term rentals. The key is working with a trusted broker to help you identify property that is valuable and worth the investment if the home isn’t one you’ll be using often for yourself,” adds Emery.

Explore your second home dreams with the Urban Real Estate team of brokers. Contact us at (312) 528-9200 for your second-home or other real estate needs.

Waterfront penthouse makes a global splash as online tools upgrade buying experience

By Urban Real Estate

The New Eastside has become a cornerstone in the city of Chicago for luxury, elegance and community. The Chandler is no exception, bringing to life some of downtown’s most magnificent residences. Making news this month is a new listing at the coveted 450 E. Waterside address, unit 3001. This is a penthouse with a story that is attracting buyers from across the globe.

This premier 3,200-plus square foot residence has everything one could want in a dream home in the sky. Among its best assets are its permanent, unobstructed panoramic views of the Chicago River to the north, Navy Pier and Lake Michigan to the east, and the city’s skyline as far as the eye can see.

Matt Silver, partner/broker at Urban Real Estate, said, “This home’s meticulous interior design by the team at Ashworth & Associates, impressive state-of-the-art kitchen, 11-foot-high ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows and with every inch customized with impeccable finishes and sweeping views makes this a show-stopper. The owners have left no detail to chance.” Silver added, “Our goal is to bring as much of our listing to life to a prospective buyer, leaving the guesswork out. We want them to love it before they even visit onsite.”

Aside from being impressive in layout and design, the three bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom boasts a large foyer ready to greet guests when they walk in the door. Two car parking is included in the $2.75 million price tag. “It’s really the ultimate in city living,” Silver said.

Urban Real Estate strategically markets its properties using interactive online visual media to garner interest from prospective buyers around the world. Virtual property tours, along with guided video tours and strategic media efforts, help increase traffic and interest to a property, and often lead to offers from buyers reached via more tailored marketing methods.

Contact Matt Silver at Mattsilver@urbanre.com or call (312) 399-0017 for more information, or visit us at UrbanRealEstate.com to preview this listing. Or connect with any Urban broker who can show you just what you are missing at (312) 528-9200.

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.