Pro Tips for Navigating This Crazy Real Estate Market – Chicago Magazine

Carrie McCormick

@Christie’s Properties

What are the weirdest things you’ve seen to close a sale?

A customer had a Rolls-Royce and the buyer asked that it stay in the garage. It worked. I asked the buyers to pay the sellers’ moving costs. I also had buyers who paid sales tax for the year.

What should sellers do to get their homes ready for the market?

I always recommend doing a pre-inspection so everything comes back clean.

Should sellers put their home on the market as is?

The market is currently supporting it, but I still think that from a value perspective, if a seller prepares their home properly and it looks clean and well-maintained, they will make more money out of it.

Photography: Maria Ponce


Jameson Sotheby’s

What should sellers do to get their homes ready for the market?

A big thing is to understand the history of your home and the buyers you want to target. Once you have that, you can maximize the photography and staging to tell that story.

In which direction do you see this market?

Things are changing and getting colder – not the crazy feeling it was a few months ago. As young people begin to return to work, I think we will see a return in demand for downtown properties, which have struggled in recent years.

Photography: Melissa Song Photography


Banker Coldwell

What features are shoppers responding to right now?

Houses are no longer just about the interior. This is the big change in recent years. If you have a patio, clean it. Add flowers. Add seating to your balcony to show off the heat.

What should sellers do to get their homes ready for the market?

Neutralize everything, including the curtains. You can make a dated room look different instantly with just a few small decorating tweaks.

Photography: Jigna Manair Photography


Morandi properties

Should sellers renovate before putting their home on the market?

Not immediately. Everything is so expensive with supply chain issues that you are going to pay dearly for renovations when you can still get the best price for your home in this market.

How can buyers improve their offers beyond just the dollar amount?

Having a reputable lender is huge right now.

Photography: Ray Morandi



What can immediately discourage buyers?

The eye looks down all the time, and if the trim isn’t flush or clean, that can be a big problem.

How can buyers get a head start in this boiling market?

The best offer is not always the highest. It is important to understand what the seller wants. This can mean a specific closing date, or even asking a trusted lender to talk about a buyer’s qualifications to ensure a smooth sale.

What is the reasonable number of repairs to request after the inspection?

This is not a dollar amount, but security. Roofs, windows and major mechanical appliances – it’s all part of home security. Offering a home warranty is obviously advantageous for the buyer, but I say to the seller: “It also saves you headaches. This can make the process smoother.

Photography: Dave Shalabi


Baird and Warner

What can immediately discourage buyers?

Exterior photos with piles of snow or leaves make people feel like the property is not maintained.

What should sellers do to get their homes ready for the market?

You want it to look neutral and almost model-like. Fresh paint, decluttered and neutral art. I tell my clients to imagine they’re going out to dinner: you dress differently if you’re going to a drive-thru than a wedding. You still won’t go home hungry, but you will have a very different experience.

Photography: Kristin Cashmore

Brady Anderson

The GGL Group, Compass

What design touches are shoppers looking for these days?

We are seeing a move away from gray walls – whites are all the rage. And for a long time, people wanted dark hardwood floors, but these also got lighter.

When should sellers consider a price drop?

Market times have decreased significantly. If you don’t have a 30-day contract in this market, it’s probably because of the price.

Photography: Sheri Whitko Photography


MG Group, BHHS Chicago

To what extremes have you seen buyers go in this hot market?

I just charged 5% more for it than asking on a property as is. They waived the contingency of the mortgage, waived the ability to negotiate after appraisal, and they allow the seller to live in the home rent-free for 90 days or until they find another home. . And our bid was barely won.

What is the reasonable number of repairs to request after the inspection?

According to the demand for the good, none. Eighty percent of my ad sales this year had no inspection requests. This is not a market for the faint-hearted.

How can sellers best promote their properties?

You’d be surprised how many people think iPhone portrait photos will somehow sell their property. Everything must be professional. The easier it is for the buyer to see themselves in there, the better.

Photography: Mario Greco


The Biazar Group, North Clybourn Group

What can immediately discourage buyers?

In condos that have a common hallway, it must be kept spotless. If there are salt stains on the stairs from winter or rusty wrought iron, these things can be a big problem but are very easy fixes.

Should I renovate before putting my property on the market?

If you undertake a renovation under the gun when you want to go to market, it is expensive. People need to remember that owning a home is a process of improvement, making repairs and renovations as you go.

Photograph: North Clybourn Group


The Kite Team, Keller Williams

What can immediately discourage buyers?

Uneven floors are important. When you can tell a homeowner has done a project on their own — the corners aren’t square, the surfaces aren’t level — it makes you worry about what they’re doing wrong.

How can buyers get a head start in this boiling market?

Ask the seller what is most important to him. It’s not always about the money – it could be the closing date or something else.

Photography: Kelly Moore

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