Summer Brings Realtors® to BankREOs.com

By Patty Boysen

So summer is here and the sun is shining. People are out and about going for walks, bike rides or playing on the beach. BankREOs.com is not only looking out the windows at the people walking by our beautiful new offices, we are watching them walk in! We are perfectly located, nestled right along the Chicago lakefront at 540 N. Lake Shore Drive and Realtors® are catching on to this quickly. They see opportunity in a place that is in the biggest hotspot in Streeterville. We get foot traffic and drive-by traffic and the location is convenient for people to stop by and see what we are all about.

Any agent who is looking to get into real estate or even veterans looking for a new change, should definitely swing on by and take a look. There is plenty of space for Realtors® to sit down, set up and start making calls. There are also multiple conference rooms and meeting rooms for you and your clients to meet in. This is the place where deals happen. There is an energy here that is untouched!

BankREOs.com is current with the market and sees opportunity in bank owned properties. People want to sell them and buyers want to buy them. There are multiple ways to buy and sell real estate and auctions is one way. The Realtors® here at BankREOs.com can assist you with the real estate auction process so that you are informed as to exactly what you need to know to sell or purchase real estate through an auction.


Traveling via the Internet

Parents worry that their teens are spending too much online, rather than going outside “like we used to when we were kids,” but the World Wide Web is well-named, because  a lot of traveling via the Internet can be done—moreson than on a bike.

The Internet also expands your horizons when buying condos and conducting other real estate-related activities. All aspects of business have been greatly enhanced by the Internet, and it is economical too. Using the Internet to view properties, obtain documents and even buy properties at auction, saves lots of time and money.

Business meetings are now customarily held using programs like Skype and GoToMeeting, so you can sit in your office or at home instead of an airport or on a plane in order to fly halfway around the world for a short face-to-face.

I have been doing a lot of traveling via the Internet myself, not necessarily for work, but through Internet forums, I have ended up meeting people from Ann Arbor, Mich., to the Netherlands who I originally just knew by a nickname online.  You can very easily search for condos from the comfort of a couch or coffee shop instead of driving around in your car.

So whether you looking for foreclosed condos or $4 million mansions, with the Internet, you can do all your business with people in far-flung corners of the world.

Of course, for safety reasons, parents have to be vigilant when monitoring younger children’s traveling via the Internet. But the Web can truly be a window to the world, whether for teens playing World of Warcraft to entrepreneurs negotiating deals on Wicker Park condos.


Downsizing Your Home

If you are thinking about downsizing your home, perhaps looking for a condo to replace your single-family house, it is natural to be hesitant or have some qualms about it. The hesitation could be due to all the memories—and belongings—that have accumulated in the old place, but don’t let those things hold you back from taking that next step.

Of course, just moving can be a hassle, especially if you have been living in one house for decades, because there are a lot of possessions to sift through, and figure out if they will fit in the new place. It’s a good exercise to do in a way, if you haven’t been. Speaking from personal experience, I moved from one home to another four years ago and I still haven’t opened several boxes of stuff that I packed up and took with me. My back was killing me from carrying the heavy boxes up the stairs, but I guess I didn’t really need what is in them anyway.

 Garage sales and Internet auction sites are a good way of getting rid of things too, and making a little money too. Cash is easier to carry into your new home, whatever the size.  

But when you are downsizing your home, there is no need to pare your possessions down to nothing either. There should be a happy medium. While condos are generally going to be smaller than your old house, you might be surprised when you start looking that many of them are spacious, and have quite a bit of storage space too, and it is not just in closets either. Most condos come with locked storage spaces that are either downstairs in the garage or laundry area, or just down the hall. And if you haven’t looked at any condos or homes lately, you might be surprised to find how much storage space is built into newer models, with display cases and bookcases set back into walls as a space saving measure. So there is no need to get  rid of all your books and knickknacks.     

Also, if you have a green thumb and are hesitant about downsizing your home and moving to a condo or townhome because you won’t be able to putter around in your backyard garden, there are ways to get around that too. Some newer condo developments now have “green roofs” where condo owners are encouraged to plant gardens as a way of cutting down on power usage, but really, if you are interested in condo gardening, all you need is a balcony. You can plant almost any flower or vegetable on a balcony.  Of course watermelon and corn might be out of the question, but tomatoes can be grown in pots, or even hanging upside down.


1963 Mortgage Interest Rates

You've probably heard it countless times in the last year or so: "Mortgage Interest Rates at Historic Lows!"

What does that even mean?

How about this perspective instead: "Buy a home with 1963 mortgage interest rates."

If you weren't around in 1963, or just don't remember it, well, we certainly know an awful lot of things were far cheaper back then, and mortgage interest rates were, too.

How about a 1963 Chevy Impala with a 327 V-8 engine and automatic transmission? Manufacturer's retail price new was $3,725.75.

Or  two dozen oranges for just 89 cents? Gasoline for just over 25 cents per gallon? The price of real estate? The list goes on.

It's incredible to think that in 2010, mortgage interest rates are about what they were in 1963....the year President John F. Kennedy was in office and the year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

In fact, at 4.42 percent, average, for a 30-year mortgage, as reported by Fannie Mae, rates are actually slightly below  what they were in 1963.  That's pretty amazing. There's not much available at the same rate as almost 40 years ago, but 1963 mortgage interest rates certainly apply. 

Should you buy a condo or house and take advantage of what could be once-in-a-lifetime low rates?  It warrants careful consideration. In fact, one of our fellow bloggers just explored the topic in his post entitled  "Why Should I Buy Now?"

Personal circumstances vary, of course. Generally speaking, if you don't have a property to sell first, you're in an excellent position to  purchase a house, townhome  or condo in the current economy because many sellers have lowered prices and/or provided incentives.

If you have a property to sell first, however, it's important to price it correctly and realistically to reflect the current market. Our condo specialist Realtors can assist with this.  Be sure the property is up to date, clean, well-staged and with great curb appeal. Real estate sales may be down in the current economy but there are still plenty of properties bought and sold every day. It takes careful strategy to get it done, with the help of one of our professionals.

And if you're wondering where to find these great mortgage rates, we're more than happy to suggest a great resource, Bank of America. Whether you are looking for condo financing or financing for a house, investment property  or other real estate, the people we've worked with at Bank of America are ready to talk with you about your needs. Click the link in the previous sentence to get started.

As you shop for the best mortgage plan for your needs, please know that mortgage interest rates available through lenders fluctuate weekly, sometimes daily, but the overall trend for many months now has been for these rates to be historically low.  Interested in a 1963 mortage interest rate? Here's your chance!


Rethink Real Estate

By Anthony Caciopo

Earlier this week, Janice Zeman,  one of OwnACondo.com's leading condo specialists, was working on some personal marketing and said she was suggesting that people rethink real estate in our current economy.

We very much liked the idea and asked her to explain.

“If you’ve got real estate to sell, it’s important to rethink how to get it done by using the services of a company that does far more than only stick a sign in the ground, put the property on the Multiple Listing Service and hope for the best,” she said.

Janice is a Realtor® of long experience and many, many satisfied clients to her credit. Neither she, nor OwnACondo.com, ever rely on just the minimum effort, yet that's what so many consumers receive from the Realtor® they partner with, even in these challenging times.

“My main objective is to assess the best plan for every individual need,” says Janice. “That can include a customized, traditional sale; a short sale or an auction, depending on the property and the needs of the client."

"A lot of consumers might be surprised to learn that auctions will soon account for one-third of all real estate sold in the U.S.,” Janice explains. “Real estate auctions are becoming hugely popular for buyers and sellers alike.  I can help people with that.  That's one example of what I mean when I urge people to rethink real estate. ” 

Short sales are another way to rethink real estate. A short sale is a transaction in which a bank agrees to accept less for a property than what is currently owed. Banks may do this to avoid having to take the property back as a foreclosure, which can be a very costly process. Short sales allow the current owner to get out of a difficult situation and can provide a buyer with the opportunity to obtain a property at a reduced price.

But auctions and short sales aside, Janice takes particular pride in servicing her clients with traditional listings by using custom photography, virtual tours and general high level of attention to marketing and servicing.

“I’m a counselor for my clients,” she says. “I’ll make sure one of our many services is the perfect fit. There’s really no other company that offers so much at such a high level.”

Janice is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), a designation earned by Realtors® who meet specific educational and practical experience criteria. She covers most of the Chicagoland area but specializes in Riverside, LaGrange and other communities nearby. She likes to rethink real estate and we like that about her!


Selling at Auction

When most people think of auctions they think of buying but in order to buy someone must be willing to sell.  Selling at auction for real estate is definitely not for everyone.  In the best of situations your property should be in the same price range as all the other properties in the auction.  The last thing you want to see is that the majority of the properties in the auction are derelict homes in a low value area when you are trying to auction off your four bedroom, 3 bath, updated kitchen and family room home.  You are most likely to not have much luck selling your home at market value since everyone at the auction is comparing prices on the other available properties.

Selling at auction requires a legal agreement and most auctioneers will wish to enter into a sole agency agreement.  This means they will advertise your property in brochures and catalogues on your behalf with the understanding you will be liable for the costs of that advertising, as well as a portion of the room fee, regardless of whether someone buys your property or not.  This may not seem fair but in reality you will have a hard time finding an auction company who will sell your property without such a legal, binding agreement.  And these may not be the only fees involved so find out about the charges before you sign any documents.  Once you have satisfied yourself with the agreements you should discuss pricing.  Find out the likely market value of your property and seek advice at what price to advertise as the reserve bid.

Now that you have everything in place there is nothing left but attend the auction.  As the seller you must attend the auction due to a variety of reasons, one of which is you may want to take a lower offer than the advertised reserve bid to get your property sold.  When the gavel goes down that last time it signifies the agreement of a binding contract between buyer and seller and you have sold your home at true market value.  The buyer must now pay 10% of the total sale price before leaving the auction house and in most cases must pay off the remaining balance in 30-45 days.  Your responsibility as the seller is to guarantee your ability to legally convey the property to the new buyer.  Selling at auction has its advantages for buyer and seller and can be the way to go depending on your motivation and comfort level.


The Advantages of Los Angeles Real Estate Auctions

The real estate market in California is very well-known around the world, and there is a good reason this is a fact. It's also a well-known fact that each time the market declines and market values drop, it is only a temporary recession, and they rebound in a short amount of time.

Despite the resiliency of the market, however, Los Angeles real estate auctions are an excellent arena for both buyers and sellers.

It helps them negotiate prices that are close to the market value, and most importantly, it expedites the sales process. No lengthy negotiations are required, and no stacks of paperwork face buyers as they're trying to close a deal. In fact, the majority of real estate auctions take less than three months from start to finish.

One of the reasons the Los Angeles real estate market is so resilient is that so much economic commerce going on in that area. People are constantly moving to California for jobs and business opportunities, and naturally, they're going to need a place to live. Often, rather than paying high prices in rent, they would rather invest their money in real estate.

This is why Los Angeles real estate auctions are in such a high demand. The population of southern California is one of the fastest growing populations in the country, and this puts demand pressure on prices and causes prices to go up. The competition auctions foster also tends to drive the prices up.

Therefore, sellers can benefit from auctions in Los Angeles just as much as the buyers. One of the things that is most fortuitous to sellers engaging in transactions that take place at auctions is that the auction house provides advertising for the event.

They pay for advertisements on the radio and television, and they also put ads in various print publications that are tailored toward the real estate industry. This is particularly beneficial because advertisements are quite expensive, and sellers might not have the capital to invest in them while trying to move a certain piece of property.

Because of the growth of the real estate market in California, use of Los Angeles real estate auctions are a growing trend. Federal aid has been directed to California to help it get out of its financial crisis, and thousands of immigrants stream over the border each day that will need to find housing.

They will most likely be looking to purchase real estate at the lower end of the market, so this will create a price floor for the rest of the market, and people at all income levels will benefit.

Auctions offer a quick and easy way for buyers and sellers to complete transactions, but it's important for both of them to be well-informed about the market so that they don't get ripped off or end up losing money by becoming caught up in a bidding frenzy.


Profitable Miami Real Estate Auctions

In reality, the real estate market across the country is facing a difficult time due to the national economic crisis, and the market in Miami is no different. This is why Miami real estate auctions are an excellent way to go about making real estate transactions since they expedite the process, and also offer both sellers and buyers the opportunity to make an excellent deal on property.

Since people have less money to spend on homes, there has been a lack of new developments in Miami as well as throughout the nation.

Therefore, prices have fallen, and the ones up for sale are typically below market value. This fact makes auctions all the more appealing since the competitive arena may benefit sellers by helping keep the prices closer to market value than they might be if the real estate was being sold in a conventional method.

Miami real estate auctions are perfect for people who are well-versed in this particular aspect of business. Both sellers and buyers need to be aware of market trends so they know what price point is reasonable for a certain piece of real estate.

If sellers set a minimum bid that is too high, they'll miss out on the efficient aspect of selling real estate at an auction because no one might bid on it. Conversely, sellers need to know how much they need to be willing to spend on real estate given its location and level of maintenance.

Luckily for buyers, all properties that are up for auction have been previously inspected and are held to high standards of maintenance so they can be assured that it will be possible to move in immediately after they complete the sale.

For the past few months, the Miami real estate market has been recovering in spite of the dire economic times.

Therefore, it's the ideal time for buyers to start searching for homes that might need a few extra repairs that someone might be looking to sell in order to avoid paying high property taxes or other expenses associated with owning property.

There is a growing number of sellers with a higher motivation to sell, which is why auctions are the ideal place for them to make a quick transaction. Although prices are continuing to drop, sellers still want to move properties.

An advantage of Miami real estate auctions is that they provide sellers with extensive advertising that they might not be able to afford on their own. All auction agencies list the properties that will be up for sale on websites that buyers can peruse before they show up to the actual auction.

They also advertise the auction through advertisements in radio shows, television broadcasts and print publications. This kind of publicity is key in getting the attention of the public, and most importantly, potential buyers, who might want to own a piece of real estate.

Even though buyers might be reluctant to complete a sale due to financial hardships, they will inevitably pay attention to advertising that suggests that they could possibly make an excellent investment and capitalize on the low market prices currently available.


In Chicago, Real Estate Auctions can be Helpful

Auctions have many benefits to potential buyers. They can access a large selection of properties up for sale, and can obtain prices that are often lower than the market value.

They also get the opportunity to close a sale in less than one month, which is quite appealing since buying real estate in a conventional method can be a very drawn out procedure that includes lengthy negotiations and lots of paperwork.

In Chicago, real estate auctions also offer many benefits to sellers as well. This is why for all parties involved in the auction process, they are gaining popularity as a method of making real estate transactions in the evolving real estate and economic climate.

Chicago real estate auctions allow sellers to sell a property with maximum efficiency. While this is important, it's also vital to note that they will get a fair price for what they're trying to sell.

Due to the competitive nature of auctions, bidders often try to win the property that they most desire, and get caught up in the excitement at the auction house. This is excellent for sellers since they will want to get the most money possible for their real estate.

Especially in Chicago, it's important to sellers that they're able to move their property without a large time delay. Owners want the best return they can get, but they don't want to waste time with buyers who might be inclined to back out of a deal at the last minute.

The fact that auctions close deals in a short amount of time is perfect for property owners that need to move quickly to take on a new job position, if they've inherited property they don't wish to put to personal use, or if they simply need the extra cash due to the current economic crisis.

It's also expensive to maintain property and pay property tax on it, so if sellers are able to get rid of it quickly, this will save them money overall. They might even be willing to accept a bid that's lower than what they wanted to receive it it means it will save them a few extra months of having to deal with being a property owner.

Although auctions present numerous benefits to sellers, Chicago real estate auctions also are a great marketplace for buyers.

They benefit from quick sales just as much as the sellers; no one wants to deal with the hassle of stacks of paperwork or tedious negotiations. Buyers can also feel confident that the properties have been thoroughly inspected and are ready for them to move into as soon as the sale is closed.

Even if buyers go into the auction with a certain price in mind for a property, however, they cannot bid under a minimum bid rate if it's been assigned by a seller. Therefore, in any case, a fair market value for a piece of property is arranged so that both parties involved in the real estate transaction can benefit from an expedited sale.


Possibilities with Online Real Estate Auctions

Online real estate auctions are excellent ways to find deals on real estate that you might not be able to find in traditional markets.

They make it easy for potential buyers to peruse a list of properties and find out what features they offer, and it's also easy to do comparative analysis online in order to find out more about the market in the area that has piqued your interest.

Although they are simple and efficient, however, it's still important for buyers to stay informed about their decisions and, if possible, for them to go to the auction in person to finalize the transaction that they would like to make.

In the real estate market, online real estate auctions do not function exactly like other online auction sites such as eBay.

It's difficult to make a purchase with confidence if you haven't had time to go see the property in person. Because sales at auctions are final, it's imperative for buyers to feel confident about their decisions.

They'll want to make sure the property has been properly inspected, for instance, and that it has been well-maintained and kept up so that they can move in immediately after the sale is completed. They'll also want to fully investigate the neighborhood if they aren't familiar with the area. It's a good idea to visit the area at different times a day, and to go through it from all different directions in order to find out what it's like and what kind of people live in it.

The advantage of looking into real estate online is that all the listings available are posted on a site that is easy to navigate. Therefore, hours of driving around to locations only to find that they're disappointing or in a less desirable part of time are no longer necessary.

Potential buyers can determine which properties pique their interest from home, and then go out to the actual locations to make sure they still would like to own that property.

All real estate auctions have corresponding websites which include all the properties that will be for sale at a particular auction. By carefully going over these websites, buyers can start the process of making a purchase before they even go to the auction to place a bid.

Online real estate auctions also offer excellent deals that might not be available when trading real estate in a conventional manner. The online market is very popular and a lot of people by real estate in this manner. As a result, competition is quite high. Competition tends to drive prices up, but buyers have the advantage of not paying any more than what they intend to bid when they walk in an auction house.

They also have the advantage of quick sales; real estate transactions can often be very drawn out procedures, but if a real estate websites can expedite some of the preliminary research, then buyers will feel more confident with a fast decision made when they bid and a deal is closed. If buyers are well-informed about the real estate market, online opportunities for research can be quite helpful as they search for the right property to own.