Getting Schooled

You're probably under the impression that your home is your castle.

Truth be told, for all intensive purposes it is.

If you've purchased a condominium, you may have quickly learned that your home is only as good as the person or company that developed the property.

I can tell you from experience it's a hard lesson to learn.

When I started blogging about my developer almost five years ago, it was out of sheer frustration. Writing these experiences down to served as a cheap form of therapy.   

Blogging about condo drama was bound to draw a few kindred spirits out of the woodwork who were going through the same thing.

Misery loves company.

Based on these shared experiences, I can offer a few tips when you're looking to join the ranks of the American homeowner.

This first one is important so have your pencils at the ready. 

If you are purchasing a unit in a brand new development, make sure the developer has a City of Chicago residential real estate developer number. 

Mayor Daley proposed the legislation in 2004 and I think its one of the best things he's done while in office.

This part of the municipal code requires that a developer post their license number and the license number of the general contractor on signage at the subject property and at the developer's office.  Additionally, the developer's license number should be included on each purchase agreement.

Allegedly a developer should not be able to obtain building permits from the city without having a license number.


You should also check and see if your developer has a valid certificate of good standing from the state and a valid business license from the city.  Both of which are a requirement for getting the developer's license number.

Don't take everything at face value, research your developer's number by making sure it's valid.

As a matter of fact, you should be consulting with an experienced real estate attorney about any potential transaction.

Just because I have an advanced degree from the school of hard knocks doesn't mean that I went to law school.

If I can spare one of you the drama of a bad condo purchase, then I may have earned my wings.


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  • Congrats on the move to Chicago Now. I'm in a similar predicament and I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. I ended up doing some of the similar things that you have and after a year long process the folks at the Business Affairs and Consumer protection backed my developer into a corner and they pleaded guilty to several violations including one that's going to be the cornerstone of Phase 2 of my plan for going after them...There just seems to be some people who think that they don't have to play by the rules....

    I thought I'd done all my due diligence but I ended up getting the shaft along with the other unit owners in my building.

    I'm still thinking about putting up the diary of a first time condo owner and putting up my experiences. They aren't real happy about that and made noises like they are shocked and outraged that I even dared to say those true things about the condition of my unit and the things that they have (and haven't) done.

    Good luck with the job hunt and thanks again for the tips!

  • In reply to KevinB:

    Thanks Kevin!
    You just wait---I've got a million stories to tell. The neighbors are next up on the hit parade. Isn't condo living great!

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