Archive for November 2017

Case Study: Buying A House Without A Realtor

Case Study: Buying A House Without A Realtor
The call came in a few months ago – much like others I have gotten over the years. The home buyer had started out buying a house without a realtor, thinking they could pocket the co-operating commission. However, at the last minute they were running into obstacles. The listing agent intended to keep both sides... Read more »

Chicago Area Home Price Gains Improve But Still Lag Most Of Country

Chicago Area Home Price Gains Improve But Still Lag Most Of Country
The Dow Jones S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price indices for September came out this morning, showing national prices for single family homes rising 6.2% over the last 12 months. Chicago did register a 6 month high in year over year price gains – it’s 59th consecutive month of price gains – but at 3.9% we... Read more »

7 Month High In Chicago Foreclosure Activity Probably A Good Thing

7 Month High In Chicago Foreclosure Activity Probably A Good Thing
Thanks to RealtyTrac (part of Attom Data Solutions) we have updated October data for Chicago foreclosure activity which I have used to update my graph below. Although the data shows a spike in overall activity defaults, which are the key metric, didn’t really change much. Since defaults feed the foreclosure process this is a good... Read more »
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Cook County Assessor Primary: Your Chance To Fix Property Tax System

Cook County Assessor Primary: Your Chance To Fix Property Tax System
Back in June I wrote about the Chicago Tribune’s excellent expose on the broken Cook County property tax assessment process which pointed out that lower priced properties are being over-assessed while higher priced properties are being under-assessed. It’s a problem that I have noted anecdotally from time to time. It seems that numerous properties that... Read more »

The One Compelling Argument For Home Ownership Tax Deductions

The One Compelling Argument For Home Ownership Tax Deductions
As you might imagine the various realtor organizations are apoplectic over the possibility that the government will take away handouts for homeownership – specifically the mortgage interest tax deduction for large mortgages and the deductions for state and local taxes, including property taxes. You can see what the NAR has to say about it here... Read more »

Hurricanes Definitely Push Up Home Prices

Hurricanes Definitely Push Up Home Prices
With the rash of hurricanes that hit us this year I was wondering what the impact would be on home prices in the affected areas. Suddenly you have the wholesale destruction of a significant portion of the housing stock in an area, accompanied by thousands of homeless families that need a place to live. Hopefully,... Read more »
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How HomeLight Finds You The "Best" Real Estate Agent

How HomeLight Finds You The "Best" Real Estate Agent
Last week I posted on how HomeLight creates the illusion that they find consumers the “best” real estate agent. I went into their site as someone interested in selling their home and spoke with one of their representatives. It was clear that, at least from the consumer’s perspective, all they cared about was an agent’s... Read more »

Chicago Real Estate Market Update: Home Sales Stuck In The Mud

Chicago Real Estate Market Update: Home Sales Stuck In The Mud
Well, the good news is that Chicago home sales were up 3.3% in October from last year – and that’s the strongest growth in 7 months. But the bad news is that 3.3% growth is the strongest growth in 7 months. In fact, if you look at the graph below you get a pretty clear... Read more »

What Costco Chicken Tells Us About Selling Homes

What Costco Chicken Tells Us About Selling Homes
Everyone loves those rotisserie chickens that they sell at Costco. At $5 for a fully cooked, 3 pound bird they just fly off the shelves – supposedly 157,000 per day. They are one of the best bargains at Costco – no doubt a loss leader – since they are a few dollars cheaper than what... Read more »
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Can HomeLight Really Get You The Best Real Estate Agent?

Can HomeLight Really Get You The Best Real Estate Agent?
It’s been more than a year since I posted on the top 6 realtor review Web sites. At that time I promised to circle back and provide more information on HomeLight, a Web site which positions itself as being able to match you with the best realtor. I back-burnered this until I could do a... Read more »