River West Neighborhood Spotlight

Neighborhood News

The River West neighborhood of Chicago at one time was more of an industrial area of the city and now many of those warehouses have since been converted into unique loft and condo buildings. There are also many townhomes, low rise condo buildings along with a few mid-rise buildings that have been springing up in River West. Recently the neighborhood has seen some changes with new high rise buildings being developed in the neighborhood including the spoke building .

IMG_2625

This neighborhood is public transportation friendly and is ideal for downtown workers or for those who work in the West Loop.  Milwaukee Avenue runs through the neighborhood which many bike commuters use the bike lanes located on Milwaukee Avenue every day to get to their offices. The bike lanes recently had protection barriers added through River West to make biking safer through this neighborhood for those who use it daily. The Chicago blue line, #56 Milwaukee Bus and the #66 Chicago Avenue Bus are all located in River West neighborhood which makes getting around town by public transportation a breeze.

There are also a few great neighborhood restaurants including Windy City Cafe, Big Shoulders Coffee, The Dawson, Jerk Modern Jamaican, The Roost Carolina Chicken, the Iguana Cafe and Piccolo Sogno.

River West is a neighborhood that you should consider for your next home, because it’s close to public transportation and it has great restaurants. If you are thinking about moving to a new neighborhood in Chicago, this is a great neighborhood to consider. Please contact me at amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com if you are interested in buying, selling or renting in Chicago.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

 

 

February Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

When ‘As Is’ Makes Sense for Buyers or Sellers

You see a listing for a home and it says “as is.” What exactly does that mean? Typically, “as is” signifies a home has issues that may need attention. This could be a good option for buyers or sellers.

To read the full newsletter including 3 No-Cost Ways To Stage a Property, Ways to Beat the Winter Blues by Visiting These Chicago Attractions and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Real Estate News

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Keeping Current Matters

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed consistently throughout 2018 until the middle of November. After that point, rates returned to levels that we saw in August to close out the year at 4.55%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

After the first week of 2019, rates have continued their downward trend. As Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater notes, this is great news for homebuyers. He states,

“Mortgage rates declined to start the new year with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipping to 4.51 percent. Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy.”

In some areas of the country, the combination of rising interest rates and rising home prices had made some first-time buyers push pause on their home searches. But with more inventory coming to market, continued price growth, and interest rates slowing, this is a great time to get back in the market!

Will This Trend Continue?

According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors,mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.

Is the Recent Dip in Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home in 2019 is on your short list of goals to achieve, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you to take action.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

January Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

Buying or Selling? Tap Into Baird & Warner’s Suite of Exclusive Tools for the New Year

Thinking of buying or selling a home in 2019? The beginning of a new year is a great time to dive in. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an empty-nester looking to downsize, Baird & Warner’s exclusive tools can improve your experience and make it easier.

To read the full newsletter including Chicago’s winter adventures, renovation projects and their costs and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

December Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

IMG_2622

Budget Tips to See More Green This Holiday Season

Saving for a down payment or home renovation? Socking away a little extra cash can be a challenge this time of the year — with holiday parties to attend, food and drink to buy and, of course, gifts for family and friends. Consider these great tips if you want to stick to a budget and still have the merriest of holidays.

To read the full newsletter including Chicago’s Best Indoor Water Parks Near Chicago, the 17 Essential Doughnut Shops in Chicago and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

Review of The Gringo

Local Business

IMG_2761

On one of the last warm fall days that we had in Chicago, I took a nice long walk in my neighborhood and I ended up at a restaurant that I have been wanting to try all summer long which was The Gringo.  This restaurant opened over the summer in the former location of the Grandview Tavern.  The Gringo is a vibrant restaurant and bar located in the historic Grandview / P Jacks building on Grand Avenue in West Town. The unique space has Mexican Folklore décor and Spanish tiled design throughout the venue. Unfortunately, when I visited The Gringo the outdoor patio was already closed for the season but, I was still able to try out the menu.

IMG_2762-2.jpg

I ordered a variety of their tacos from the menu including the carne asada, al pastor, chicken and chorizo tacos. I thought that all of the tacos were very tasty.  The tacos are ordered individually and are small which makes it easy to try several different types of tacos.  I also had the chips & Guac which was a nice starter for the flavorful tacos that followed. I plan on going back to try out their signature churros for desert then next time.

The Gringo

located at:  1202 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642

 

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

 

 

November Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

IMG_2625

Why the Holidays Are a Great Time to Buy and Sell?

With holiday celebrations just around the corner, it might seem counterintuitive to step up your real estate activity. But it’s actually a great time to enter the market, whether you’re a buyer or seller.

To read the full newsletter including Chicago’s top 10 pizza places, tips to throw a fall feast with friends and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

Are You Spending TOO Much on Rent?

Real Estate News

Are You Spending TOO Much on Rent? | Keeping Current Matters

Chances are if you are renting you are spending too much of your income on your monthly housing expense. There is a long-standing ‘rule’that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their rent or mortgage payment. This percentage allows the household to save money for the future while comfortably covering other expenses.

According to new data released from ApartmentList.com, 49.5 million renters in the United States were cost-burdened in 2017, meaning they spent more than 30% of their monthly incomes on rent. This accounts for nearly half of all renter households in the country and is up 3.1 million from 2007.

When a household is cost-burdened by their monthly housing expense, they are not as easily able to save money for the future. This is a big factor for many renters who dream of owning their own homes someday.

But there is hope for those who are able to save at least a 3% down payment! The percentage of income needed in the US to buy a home is significantly less than renting at 17.1%!

The chart below compares the historic percentage of income needed to rent and buy from 1985-2000 to the first quarter of 2018. As you can see, the cost of renting has climbed above historic numbers while the cost of buying dropped over the same period of time.

Are You Spending TOO Much on Rent? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who is spending too much of their monthly income on rent, consider saving money by getting a roommate, moving into a less expensive apartment, or even moving in with family. These are all ways to save for a down payment so that you can put your housing costs to work for you!

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling

Real Estate News

2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling | Keeping Current Matters

When it comes to buying or selling a home there are many factors you should consider. Where you want to live, why you want to buy or sell, and who will help you along your journey are just some of those factors. When it comes to today’s real estate market, though, the top two factors to consider are what’s happening with interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and are now over three-quarters of a percentage point higher than they were at the beginning of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.72% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling | Keeping Current Matters

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be over 5% by this time next year.

Inventory

A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 4.3-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 78 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last three months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, in June, July, and August, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

2 Factors to Watch in Today’s Real Estate Market Whether Buying or Selling | Keeping Current Matters

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the fall and winter months. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, make sure that you have an experienced local agent who can help you navigate the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory.

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com

October Chicago Real Estate Newsletter

Real Estate News

IMG_2623

Making Your Home More Appealing to First-Time Buyers

With first-time buyers accounting for more than one-third of today’s home sales, it’s smart for sellers to think about appealing to this demographic. Even if you don’t think of your home as a “starter” home, I can help make sure it is first-time buyer ready.

To read the full newsletter including tips on home presentation, Chicago’s top public schools and featured properties, click here .

Amy Pearson

Real Estate Broker

Baird & Warner – Gold Coast

amy.pearson@bairdwarner.com