Every so often I check in with Mike Stern, the manager of Koenig & Strey's Evanston office, for a recap of what's trending in the Evanston real estate market.
Mike is a 25-year veteran of Chicago real estate who always has solid information and a good feel for the pulse of the market. He's a good go-to guy because he doesn't push an agenda or overstate a case.
"Keeping deals together behind the scenes is the big topic these days," according to Mike. "We've sometimes run into 'cold feet' buyer issues after a deal is signed. Appraisals have been a continuing problem, as have home inspections."
"The buyers have done a lot of their own research," he continued. "They're very sophisticated and recent news reports have caused some buyers to become nervous."
As the manager of a busy office Mike is in a position to see a wider range of situations than an individual agent would encounter, and often assists in problem-solving. "The key is keeping lines of communication open and being creative in meeting needs."
Mike's sense of the market is that "it feels like things have picked up a bit. Properties that are in short supply are a 'price war to the door' and a 'beauty contest' combined."
He cites the example of a split-level home in a desirable block of Asbury in Evanston that was "well-received by the market, and went under contract quickly. The owners had cleaned, painted, staged, worked hard to put their best foot forward and had a very nice response."
Condos, according to Mike, remain "a very competitive market due to the high amount of inventory, although distinctive properties such as updated vintage six-flats and lofts have sold quickly." Some Evanston condos, Mike reports, have quietly converted to rentals. The rental market is an area he monitors weekly, and in which he has seen strength.
Mike has also seen a recent spate of agents reporting increased buyer call activity, and "more requests from sellers, people coming back to the agents to get out there and get serious."
If you're headed to Evanston this Saturday, the Farmers Market (pictured above) is open and thriving.