Housing prices rise. Chick-fil-a opens. What do you care most about?

I spoke at a career fair at a suburban high school today, talking to freshmen about what freelance writing is all about. One of the students asked me which of my stories generate the most interest. I hate to say it, but the first thing I thought of was Chick-fil-a. Every time I write about... Read more »

Resisting the temptation to declare the start of a Chicago housing market rebound

The March sales numbers from the Illinois Association of Realtors were good for Chicago. Not only did the number of condo and single-family home sales in the city rise during the month, so did the median price of these sales. That last point is important. For months, city of Chicago home sales have been rising,... Read more »

No more $5 pizzas ... a (sort of) housing market lesson

The $5 pizza restaurant in my neighborhood closed down yesterday, much to the dismay of my 13-year-old son. That’s right, for just $5 you could get a large pepperoni, sausage or cheese pizza. It wouldn’t taste that great, but two pizzas for $10 could feed our family on lazy nights when no one felt like... Read more »
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Let's apologize media: There really was a housing bubble

A recent reader of my blog — check one post down — took me to task a bit, asking me, in essence, why the media so often get a free pass for the role they played in the housing boom and bust that sent the country into the Great Recession. Well, that reader is right.... Read more »

Your home isn't worth as much as you think it is -- just ask your real estate agent

Here’s what real estate agents dislike about home sellers: They all hold too high an opinion of their own residences. Sure, they understand that home prices across Chicago and its suburbs have fallen. They just think it’s the homes of everyone else whose values have fallen. As one veteran agent told me just last week:... Read more »

Chicago home sellers should be happy that commercial real estate is in recovery mode

You might not think it matters to the Chicago housing market if developers can get loans from banks to build industrial properties. But all real estate in the city is connected. If the city’s commercial real estate markets are doing well, that means that developers are building again, new stores are opening and, most importantly,... Read more »
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I'm refinancing. So far, I don't like it

I decided to give it another try. And by “it” I mean refinancing. Everyone tells me I’m crazy for not taking the steps I need to lower my interest rate, especially since I cover real estate. I should know better than most just how much money doing this will save me. Here’s the problem, though;... Read more »

Single home buyers do it for the money -- and the independence

There was a time when people waited until they were married to buy a home. That’s been an old-fashioned notion for a while now. A recent survey by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, though, confirms that single buyers are accounting for an ever-increasing percentage of today’s home buyers. Coldwell Banker last year conducted a national survey... Read more »

Even in today's dismal residential market, owning a home might be the smart financial move

It’s easy to forget that there actually are some nice things about owning a house. Ron Phipps This came up while I was interviewing Ron Phipps, the current president of the National Association of REALTORS. We spoke a lot about falling home values — the median sales price of a home, $156,100, fell to its... Read more »
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Chicagoans and their credit scores: We're middling

Credit scores are king today. Mortgage lenders and banks rely on them to determine to whom they pass out loans and at what interest rates. How are Chicagoans doing when it comes to credit scores? Not great, but OK, as it turns out. National credit bureau Experian — the scummy folks behind all those advertisements... Read more »