Category: Home Buying

Tax Reform Hacks For Real Estate A Bit More Complicated

Tax Reform Hacks For Real Estate A Bit More Complicated
On Thursday I posted some ideas on how to retain the benefits of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions under the new tax law. But I think I oversimplified it a bit so I wanted to backtrack for a few minutes. Let me clarify a few things. First, I want to make sure that... Read more »

Real Estate Tax Reform Hacks: Renting, Buying, And Investing

Real Estate Tax Reform Hacks: Renting, Buying, And Investing
Last week I posted on how the new tax reform law has increased the attractiveness of renting a home vs. buying a home because of the increase in the standard deduction and the $10,000 limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes. As I pointed out in a November 2017 post the real problem... Read more »

Renting A Home Suddenly Looks Better Under Tax Reform

Renting A Home Suddenly Looks Better Under Tax Reform
As people are working on their tax returns I suspect the reality of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is starting to kick in – and I’m not talking about the withholding/ refund drivel that the media is obsessed with. The bigger issue is the $10,000 SALT (state and local tax) deduction limitation that... Read more »
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Don't Put Too Much Faith In That Real Estate Appraisal

Don't Put Too Much Faith In That Real Estate Appraisal
3 1/2 years ago I wrote a blog post about some of our worst experiences with real estate appraisals and some of the systematic problems with that entire process. Needless to say that post was not well received by many real estate appraisers out there. Not surprisingly, they wouldn’t really admit to any problems in... Read more »

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 »

The No Down Payment Mortgage Is Back With Free Government Money

The No Down Payment Mortgage Is Back With Free Government Money
Late last year I wrote about a lender giving away free money – up to $20,850 – to home buyers in certain areas around Chicago. It was indirectly related to government interference in the housing market. But late last week one of our lenders – Russ Martin of Perl Mortgage – reminded me of a... Read more »
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Writing A Home Offer Letter To Win In Multiple Bid Situations

Writing A Home Offer Letter To Win In Multiple Bid Situations
In hot markets throughout the country, where home buyers are running into multiple bid situations, buyers often write home offer letters in an attempt to persuade the sellers to give them the edge – even over buyers offering more money. Frankly, it doesn’t even have to be a multiple bid situation since you could use... Read more »

Chicago Area Home Sellers File Lawsuit Against Zillow's Zestimate

Chicago Area Home Sellers File Lawsuit Against Zillow's Zestimate
I’ve written numerous blog posts about the terrible inaccuracies in the various automated home value estimators that you find on the Web. About a year and a half ago I compared several of them: Those Home Value Estimators Really Suck. The fundamental problem is that these estimators only look at the easily discernible data on... Read more »

Urban Housing Costs Take Big Bite Out Of Income - But Not In Chicago Area

Urban Housing Costs Take Big Bite Out Of Income - But Not In Chicago Area
Between rising home prices, rising mortgage rates, and rising rents housing costs are on the rise and have just hit some of the highest levels in recent years. Last week Zillow released their Analysis Of Mortgage And Rent Affordability which showed that, nationally, mortgage payments are taking up the largest share of income since June... Read more »
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Why Good Realtors Will Only Work With Buyers On An Exclusive Basis

Why Good Realtors Will Only Work With Buyers On An Exclusive Basis
This is one of those rare moments when I’m actually in agreement with the real estate industry zealots but I didn’t always see it this way. Before I became a realtor I felt like, as a home buyer, I should be able to work with multiple real estate agents and whoever found me the best... Read more »