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17Nov/100

Vacation Condos

With winter approaching, it is no wonder that residents of Chicago, New York and other northern cities start making plans to escape the cold weather, even for a few days, to places like Miami, Las Vegas and other hotspots. Finding a place to stay is the first task for anyone seeking to a break from the cold weather, and vacation condos are a great option when trying to get the most “bang for your buck.”

These vacation condos, often found in upscale high rises in prime tourist destinations, are ideal because of their location and relatively low cost. By renting a condo, for the price of a nice hotel room, and sometimes even less, you will get the opportunity to say in a much more spacious condo, and enjoy access to hotel amenities such as state-of-the-art pools and fitness centers.

 The owners of the vacation condos, especially those in resort communities in Florida and elsewhere, are often snowbirds themselves. They buy condos with the intention of renting them out for long periods of the year when they will not be using them. Of course anyone who owns a condo or house can make their property available to vacationers, but it is harder to get the word out as an individual.  In condo high-rises, however, the rental process is handled by the condo management. All the owner has to do is provide a schedule when the condo will be available to rent. The income can go toward the mortgage.  

Many people who find themselves renting condos for regular vacations in Florida or Las Vegas end up buying one of their own, especially if they are attracted to a certain location, and go back there often. Some people buy them as investment properties with the intent to eventually retire there. In the meantime, they are used as second homes or vacation condos. Of course, vacation condos can be found in Chicago and other cities too, so the travel goes both ways

Due to continuing low interest rates, together with the high volume of real estate available for sale, especially in places such as South Florida, Las Vegas, and California, now is as good a time as any to buy a vacation condo. Florida, especially in areas around Miami and Fort Lauderdale, now has some of the most affordable real estate in the country. The Las Vegas area, and Phoenix too, is equally good.

For these reasons, buying a vacation condo now could definitely work out to your advantage economically. In addition to the benefits of renting it out when you are not using it, the property values are sure to increase in the foreseeable future, so investing in condos is still a profitable venture.

9Nov/100

Rental condos

Rental condos are great, and can be found in moderately priced and luxury developments alike, in cities across the United States. But the percentage of rented condos in a particular development is an important piece of information to know for many people interested in buying condos there.

 One reason the percentage of owner-occupied condos in a complex is an important consideration for many condo buyers is that if they are looking for an FHA mortgage, the percentage will have a bearing on whether they will be approved for the loan or not. The FHA recently made a slight adjustment to its rules, permitting 50 percent of the condos to be owner-occupied, whereas the minimum used to be 51 percent. This was done in part to encourage ownership. More people are applying for FHA loans now because they only require 3.5 percent down payment, while banks and other lenders want a 10 percent down payment, which many people are unable to come up with.

But the issue remains a conundrum for many condo associations. So while the FHA is becoming more lenient, many condo associations want to reduce the allowable percentage of rental condos in their own buildings to as little as 25 percent, if they are allowed at all. Of course, any change in the condo laws have to be approved by a majority of owners, and if most of the owners are investors who don’t live in the complex, they might not go along with it.

If there are too many rental condos, owner-occupants in the building often feel like they are living in an apartment complex, and express concerns that others considering moving into the building might be hesitant to move in for the same reason.

 At the same time, having the ability to lease condos give owners more flexibility, if their job takes them out of the city and they are not ready to put the property up for sale. Also, many people like the idea of being able to rent a condo, rather than an apartment, because condos are usually larger and there are often more amenities in condo developments than in apartment complexes. Many also sign rent-to-own contracts, so they will eventually become owners.

So the two sides have come to some sort of “happy medium” regarding the issue of  rental condos, because while some condo owners would rather not have any rented units in the complex, feeling that renters do not have as much invested in, others point out that having units rented is definitely better than having them empty.

3Sep/100

Lead Based Paint Disclosure

Whether you are a purchaser or a renter, if you are interested in a residential real property that was built before 1978 you will need to complete a lead based paint disclosure. If you are a seller, your real estate agent will provide you with one to fill out so that you can provide it to the buyer/renter. Properties built before 1978 may be exposed to lead from lead-based paint.

Buyers have up to 10 days to check for lead in the residential dwelling. They can order a paint inspection which will tell if the home has lead based paint and also where it is located. A risk assessment will tell you if there are any lead hazards in your home. It also tells you what you need to do in order to address any of the hazards.
Lead an get into people’s bodies by swallowing or breathing in lead dust, or by eating paint chips containing lead. Lead poisoning is especially dangerous to young children and/ or pregnant women. If the pregnant woman has a high level of lead in her system prior to pregnancy, this could expose the fetus to lead through the placenta during fetal development. Lead poisoning can cause permanent neurological damage, including learning disabilities, reduced intelligence quotient, behavioral problems and impaired memory in children.  In adults, it can cause fertility problems, high blood pressure, digestive problems, muscle and joint pain, nerve disorders and memory and concentration problems.

If it is known that there are lead based paint hazards, then this must be disclosed by law on the lead based paint disclosure. As a seller, it is your responsibility to not only complete the lead based paint disclosure and provide it to the buyer/renter but to also supply the purchaser/renter with a lead based paint pamphlet which covers lead based paint in more detail.

If your residential dwelling was built after 1978 you are not required to fill out a lead based paint disclosure. The reason for this is because the paint that is now used does not contain lead. As a seller you are required, however, to provide the buyer/tenant with the lead based paint pamphlet to inform them.

Lead based paint is a serious matter which is why the federal government banned it in homes and apartments throughout the entire country. It is important to take special precautions when dealing with lead based paint.

31Aug/100

Condo Swapping

Condo swapping by vacationers is becoming more popular and easier to do with websites such as Craigslist and others with notice boards that can easily put people in different states or countries together.

People who want to save money by avoiding hotels on vacation, but still stay somewhere comfortable, are some of those most interested in condo swapping. They can now search online for people in their target city who want to swap vacation condos, or homes of any kind, for a week or a month, or however long they decide together. These types of condos can be found in cities around the United States, and indeed the world. The two parties can find each other online, make the initial contact online and then call each other and arrange particulars.

In addition to the vacation aspect of the agreement, some people who advertise themselves as willing to swap homes want to do it on a permanent, or at least semi-permanent, basis. For instance, due to the soft real estate market, some people moving to other cities would rather , thinking they would rather hold off until the market improves.

Condo swapping is less costly than renting condos, since depending on whatever agreement is struck, no money might change hands at all. If two people are taking their vacations at the same time, they might just agree to switch houses for an allotted period of time. 

Of course, the condo swapping can be done between vacation homes, or primarily residences. Some people with second homes, or vacation homes in areas popular with tourists regularly offer to rent their homes. Rental condos are often found in luxury condo developments, where owners can put their condos on a list that can be used as rental condos while they are not

Besides the cost savings, another advantage of condo swapping is the fact that it can bring people together from places as diverse as Guatemala to Grand Junction, Colo. And you can experience living in a real residential area, instead of just in a downtown tourist center where most hotels are. While the condos available for swapping are often are located in popular, they can be found in out-of-the-way places too, where hotels are few and far between.

Condo swapping is more personal than using rental condos,   or “condotels,” which are condos, often in luxury high-rise complexes, that are made available to rent as hotel suites when the owner is not living there. But unlike with condo-swapping, the owners and renters have no contact.

17Aug/100

Apartment Rentals

People considering buying apartment buildings as an investment will be encouraged to hear that while sales of condos and other real estate slowed due to the downturn in the economy, apartment rentals are showing signs of recovery, despite the spike in unemployment and other factors.   

That could explain why people are looking for rental condos too. For instance, the analytic firm of MFP Research found that the number of occupied apartments increased by 215,000 in 64 major U.S. markets in the first six months of the year, according to analytic firm MFP Research. That is almost twice the number of occupancies added in all of 2009.

The National Multi-Housing Council, a trade group for the nation's largest landlords, agrees that vacancy levels are improving. Its most recent quarterly index of occupancies is the highest it has been in four years.

Chicago-area landlords also are doing well, according to statistics that show the suburban vacancy rate remaining about 5.5 percent, and about 6 percent in the city. This is an improvement from 9 percent vacancy rates several years ago, and both sectors of apartment rentals are low enough to be considered a balanced market, according to many observers.

Ordinarily, when unemployment levels are as high as they are, apartment rentals would be expected to decrease because college graduates and other young people looking for jobs are not in a position to move away from home and get their first apartment. But there are other economic factors contributing to the evident uptick in renters. These include the fact that people do not feel secure enough to invest in a condo or house due to the state of the market, so they continue renting. Also, people who have experienced a home foreclosure or short sale have now returned to renting condos and apartments.   

The fact that on average, monthly rents being charged have not increased too much in recent years, and have even remained level in many areas, also encourages more people to rent rather than buy. Then the supply issue must be taken into consideration also. In Chicago, the number of new rental units has increased only slightly in recent years, according to industry observers, who say that practically no new apartment buildings have been built in the Chicago suburbs.

Because apartment rentals have been going up, this might be a good time to invest in apartment buildings. And anyone who wants to use renting as a steppingstone to ownership can look for rent-to-own programs, which many condo owners offer.

14Aug/100

Condo Rentals in Chicago

Condo rentals are a means to many different types of ends.  Condo rentals in Chicago can help you to find the perfect place for you no matter what your motivation might be, from a place to call home until you can purchase or possibly for that much needed vacation residence.

Condo rentals in Chicago for your vacation are open to everyone, no matter your age, background, or lifestyle.  The jazz clubs in which Chicago is well known for will delight music lovers.  If the national pastime is more to your liking, Chicago offers two major league teams each in a different part of the city.  Everyone in the family will enjoy the many architectural and historical landmarks that Chicago is known for from the Sears Tower to Soldier Field.  Other sights to see are the many museums that are home to Chicago such as, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry and the Kohl’s Children’s Museum known for it’s hands on learning laboratory.  But that’s not all for the kids!  The attraction-filled Navy Pier and Lincoln Park zoo will make your vacation one that the kids will remember for a long time.  A relatively new addition to Chicago will excite the kids beyond belief with a trip to Millenium Park and “the bean” where reflections of the city makes incredible photos to take home to their friends.  Last but not least is Lake Michigan which is always fun when it is sunny and warm out.  If this doesn’t sound appealing to you yet then perhaps you are wondering about how affordable condo rentals can be.  Don’t worry you can definitely find cheap accommodations no matter if it is a weekly rental or one night accommodations.

What if you are not looking for a vacation rental?  Condo rentals in Chicago are also an excellent source to find a place to live.  You may just need a place to rent until you decide to buy or possibly enter into a rent to own agreement which is becoming more and more popular in today’s real estate market.  Either way finding a condo in Chicago is just a click away but there are several things you show know.

  • All rental agreements are not alike – a lease us for a definite period of time, generally one year.  A month to month rental agreement is not for a set period and continues until you decide to move or the owner asks you to leave.
  • Rental agreements do not have to be in writing, they can be oral.  However, a lease for more than a year generally must in writing.
  • You have rights!  The law says that your apartment must be livable.  You must have hot and cold running water, heat, and electrical lighting in good working order.

Finding a condo to rent or buy can be a daunting task but doing your homework and finding the right real estate agent to help will pay off many times over.

1Jul/09Off

Renting A Condo

Have you considered renting a condo versus renting an apartment?  Renting a condo can have so many additional benefits that one should seriously consider this option.  Renting a condo starts with finding the inventory out there.  Whatever the area that you are looking in, you’ll find tons of condos for rent just like apartments. They are many times owned by individuals that cannot sell their condo so they decide to rent it instead. You can find these in newspaper classifieds, on the internet under rental postings, but the best source of finding a complete list of all condo rentals is from your local condo Realtor specialist.

Real estate agents that specialize in the renting and selling of condos are well worth their weight in gold.  They are able to not only find you complete lists of all condos available for rent or for sale, but they will give you insight to the ones that are the best deals as well.  They know the market better than anyone else.  They can direct you to the hot spots, the trendy spots, the opportunities and save you tones of time along the way.  How much do you have to pay real estate agents to find you a condo to rent?  Usually the service is free. In most situations, the landlord pays the real estate agent for renting the condo.

Once you found the condo you want to rent, is it possible that you might be able to buy it after renting it for some time?  Almost in all situations, the landlord may be willing to sell the condo. You’ll find that there are so many scenarios where the landlord actually wanted to sell the condominium but realized, until that time came, he’d better rent it.  If you run in to this scenario, make sure that you ask about the p[possibility to do a rent to own condo program.  A rent to own condo is where you can rent the condo for a short time and apply part of the rent to the down payment.  When you do this, you’re in a position to afford being able to buy it much sooner. Part of the problem in owning a condo is getting enough money to put down on the condo. The rent to own program helps that situation by applying a pre-negotiated rate of how much from the rent will go toward the down payment.  This amount is decided between you and the seller of the condominium.

1Jun/09Off

Condos for Rent

The condos for rent in today’s market can be extraordinary in value if you think about the possibility of a rent to own program. Ultimately it would be nice to own a condo in the long run, but if you’re not able to afford one today, renting a condo with the option of buying it somewhere down the road may be the next best thing.

Condos for rent can be found just about anywhere but if you’re looking for “rent-to-own condos” you may need to search through your condo specialist.  There are many real estate brokers that sell real estate but there are very few that just specialize in condominiums.  OwnACondo.com is such a brokerage.  OwnACondo.com focuses on renting, selling financing, insuring and managing condos.  They can help with every aspect of the condo process which can greatly cut down the time and the hassle of looking for several companies do to all these things.

Condos for rent that allow you to also purchase them over time are called “rent to own” condos.  Most rent to own programs allow for you to put a portion of your rent toward the down payment.  This can greatly increase the ability to own a condominium.  There are so many young couples that are not able to save the down payment for a condo but they have enough for the monthly expense.  This allows the couple to slowly save each month eventually saving enough so that they can close a year or so down the road.

Condos for rent can also be a great move just simply to live in a condo versus an apartment. Condos can be much better kept up and attract a better maintenance schedule because the association religiously pays for the upkeep month after month.  There are several landlords of apartment buildings that are unable to keep up with the building like a condo association can.  There are also incidences of landlords having the ability to keep the place clean but just simply choose not to.  Associations are mandated to keep the condo complex up to par.

Condos for rent can be a great thing if you work on making the right choices and make sure you take your time looking at everything that’s out there.  There’s a huge upside to the rent to own condo because you can then control and do whatever you’d like with the condo down the road.

18Apr/09Off

Rent A Condo

How can you rent a condo?  Are condos actually for rent just like apartments?  They sure are and there may be several advantages to renting a Chicago condo opposed to a Chicago apartment.

Many times condo complexes have different upgrades from apartment complexes.  Let’s think of this from a common sense standpoint. Condos are usually owned.  People purchase the condo to live in it, hopefully it appreciates in value and then it’s sold. The owners of the condo are going to take care of the unit and the grounds of the condo complex differently than apartment renters that really do not have a vested interest in the apartment complex.  This means that usually the grounds and the unit itself are better kept and nicer than an apartment complex. That’s number one.

The second reason that you may want to rent a condo versus renting a Chicago apartment is the amount of money that is usually put to upgrading the complex is usually quite a bit higher in a condominium complex versus an apartment complex.  Let’s break this down.  An apartment building owner has only so much money from the cash flow from an apartment building investment.  If the apartment building is 100% occupied, they may be making enough money to do a few upgrades each year.  If the complex is 90% or lower, chances are that the landlord is actually at a break even or may even be losing money on a monthly basis.  There are several examples of this all over the Chicago area.  Most apartment complexes are kept at a level just above mediocre to get apartment tenants, but rarely do you see a class A apartment building that is completely renovated and updated.  This is naturally based on the apartment building investment does have loads of cash streaming from it to allow extra money for upgrades.

But when you rent a condo from a condominium complex, things are usually different.   Remember, these units were sold to someone.  That means they are taken care of differently.  As in a sale, most people try to get the product ready for a sale by renovating it and cleaning it.  Condo sellers will paint and re-carpet.  They’ll make sure the hallways and grounds are clean.  They’ll make sure the association is on that leaky gutter so they won’t be embarrassed when they are walking the buyer through.  All of these factors add up. 

In the end, it’s almost inevitable that you find renting a condo is a better choice than renting an apartment.  There are always exceptions to the rule, but it’s a rare situation to find this philosophy flip flopped.

5Mar/090

Rent A Condo

Rent A CondoAre you ready to rent a condo?  Renting a Chicago condo can be very simple or very challenging depending on the company you choose to represent you.  OwnACondo.com has several hundred condos to choose from that not only can be rented but may also fall into the category of "rent-to-own", a program that would allow you to apply part of the rent toward a down payment of the purchase of a Chicago condo.

 

When renting a condo, there are many things you'll have to check into before moving forward.  First, the owner of the condo will want to make sure you can afford the monthly condo rent.  In Chicago rents can very immensely, but most fall between $700 a month, to as high as $2,000 a month for a condo.  Condos come in all shapes and sizes in Chicago.  There are studio condos that really do not have a dedicated bedroom away from the living area space.  Basically the studio is a big square room that includes your sleeping area, kitchen and living area all in one.  It's the smallest of all the choices and because of this, is the least expensive.  For those of you that want to keep costs down and want to move away from the parents, this might be a good start for you.

 

There are several studio condos that can be rented in all areas of Chicago. Next in line would be one, two and three bedroom condos.  The owner will most likely ask for a credit application so they can verify your employment and ability to pay the monthly rent.  This process can literally only take a few hours.  Once the owner approves you, its your choice if you want to move forward.  Most likely the condo owner will want you to sign some sort of a lease.  This lease is a contract between you and the owner of the condo and it states all the rules of your agreement.  It will spell out the length of time you are to rent the condo, what the security deposit will be, the length of time you will live in the condo and how many people will be renting the condo from the owner.

 

Renting a condo can be simple if you have a professional Realtor by your side.  Make sure this is looked in to.  They will get paid normally by the owner, not by the renter.  So it really costs you nothing to use an experienced realtor.  Choose one that rents condos often.  Experience is a must. The next thing to think about is condition of the building.  Make sure you come to the condo complex often before signing a lease.  Check the complex out at different times during the week to see if there are parties going on or people hanging around the complex that you would rather not like to live around. Over all, make sure this is a place you want to be in because once the lease is signed, its hard getting out of it.