Customer Wants Value. We’re All Over It.

By Anthony Caciopo

A routine correspondence between our Customer Care Department and a person browsing our website led to an interesting thought about that classic old real estate axiom of "location, location, location."

Kyle O. registered for a search on OwnACondo.com and left us a comment stating that he is looking for rental condos under a certain price per month. Our customer care manager asked  for a general idea of where Kyle would like to live, and Kyle replied via email:

"I know this sounds vague, but I am willing to look anywhere that gives me the most bang for my buck.  I will need a reasonable commute from any location as I work on Randolph/Wells. The areas I was initially interested in were Lakeview, UIC area, and Lincoln Park.  With that said, if a unit in Evanston provides me a better situation I will gladly look into that. "

We thanked Kyle for his reply and have already gotten to work on his behalf. We didn't find any difficulty whatsoever with Kyle's description. He has a wide range of interesting and desirable communities, and we should be able to hook him up without problem. But beyond the locations he specified, what we heard especially loud and clear was his stipulation that he is "willing to look anywhere that gives me the most bang for my buck."

Value has always been important to consumers, of course. But currently, we've noticed more and more consumers demand the very best deal possible, whether they are renting or buying real estate. Obvious? Sure, but that wasn't necessarily the case just a few short years ago, when buyers were grabbing properties at top-dollar prices, often not daring to make an offer less than asking price for fear of being passed up by someone else who was willing to pay more.

We understand and we can help, because we're not only in the business of real estate, but we're consumers, too, and a desire for the best possible value is never far from our minds.


Foreclosure News

It seems, these days, that most good news in the real estate market comes with a little bad, particularly when it concerns foreclosure issues.

For instance, industry observers see indications that the foreclosure crisis is improving.  A recent report by Realtytrac stated that the number of foreclosure notices filed during the first quarter of 2011 fell 15 percent over the previous quarter and  27 percent compared with the same period of 2010. Nationwide, this amounted to 681,000 properties receiving a notice of default, a scheduled auction or a foreclosure sale during the first quarter of 2011, one for every 191 households.

During the same time period, 215,046 borrowers lost their homes, which is 17 percent lower than the same period last year, and the best it has been in three years

Despite the improving picture regarding foreclosure issues, sales of existing and new home homes remain low, and home prices are not improving yet, according to industry officials. Theoretically, the low home property values and interest rates make this a great time to buy homes.  

The so-called “robo-signing scandal” that involved banks automatically signing off on foreclosures without looking into them case by case, evidently affected the rate of foreclosure. Since that scandal broke last year, many banks have cut back on filing foreclosures while they correct their procedures.

The drop in foreclosures is widespread. RealtyTrac reported that filings dropped in each of the 20 hardest-hit metro areas. Year-over-year declines reached as high as 59 percent, in Cape Coral, Fla., for the quarter. Even in Las Vegas, the hardest hit city during the foreclosure crisis, filings fell 8 percent. But Las Vegas remains the highest ranked metro area in per-capita foreclosures. One of every 31 homes absorbed a filing during the first quarter of 2011, about six times the national norm.

Nevada, Arizona and California continued to rank as the top-three states in foreclosure rates. Florida, however, a consistent fourth, has improved to eighth place for the first quarter and ninth for March, and with any luck, and a few more sales, foreclosure issues will clear up across the country, and people will be more encouraged to buy and sell condos and other homes.


Daylight Savings Time Changes Our Way of Thinking

It's been in the air for a while now. The slight lengthening of days, the gradual release of winter's cold steel grip on temperatures, but it's the arrival of daylight savings time that really changes our way of thinking.

Suddenly, there's ambient light--and lots of it--when we emerge from work these days. What a change from the burdensome days of darkness that extended from the moment we left our jobs until the moment we closed our eyes for sleep at night.

The process of buying real estate begins to re-invigorate, too. The market, after all, is driven by people. And despite our tendency to think we operate independently of all that's around us--well, let's be honest. We humans have our seasons of ebb and flow, our periods of retrenchment and reawakening, too.

It's only natural that activity picks up in the real estate market as the weather becomes more cooperative and people want to get out more. OwnACondo.com is ready to hit the streets--figuratively and literally--with buyers  in search of great deals on great properties. 

 It's a great feeling. In not too many more days, nature will begin to bloom again and remind us that this wonderful, awe-inspriring cycle of life has begun anew. 

Condos, townhomes and other residential properties are plentiful. Great choices are available. Step outside, take a deep breath and feel the coming spring all around you. If you'd like to buy a place of your own, there's no better reason--or season--than now.


Sandry Ollison

Sandry Ollison has joined the growing team of Realtors® at OwnACondo.com.

A native Chicagoan who lives in the Burnside neighborhood on the South Side, Sandry has been involved in the real estate business since 1991. She first  worked for several Chicago-area companies as a property manager before getting her real estate license in 1997, and then her broker’s license in 2010. “It had been a dream of mine to be an entrepreneur for a long time, and I am glad I did it,” she said.

“I have been a self-sponsored Realtor® for the past two years, an independent contractor,” said Sandry, a good-humored, sociable person who has also taught entrepreneur classes for continuing education students at Prairie State College. “I have a passion for housing, and I enjoy putting my skills and knowledge of the housing market to work for my buyers. I am especially familiar with Loop condos and other downtown properties, as well as the South Side of Chicago, and the south suburbs also. As a very detail-oriented entrepreneur, I like working for an exclusive buyers' agency because I can devote myself to helping my clients get the best deal possible on their dream home or investment property.”

Sandry Ollison’s specialties include:

  • Downtown real estate
  • Chicago South real estate
  • South Cook County real estate
  • Condos
  • Condo rentals and leasing
  • First-time homebuyers
  • Condo staging
  • Property management
  • Foreclosures
  • Real estate buyers

When she is not taking care of her clients, Sandry Ollison enjoys church activities, as well as interior decorating and other interests.

Contact Sandry at sollison@ownacondo.com or at (773) 663-6686 if you have any questions or would like her to help you find your dream home or investment property.