The Power is Now

Pro Tips on Navigating This Crazy Real Estate Market – Chicagomag.com

Carrie McCormick

@Properties Christie’s

What are the oddest things you’ve seen thrown in to close a sale?

A client had a Rolls-Royce, and the buyer asked for it to stay in the garage. It worked. I’ve had buyers pay the sellers’ moving costs. I also had buyers who paid the sellers’ taxes for the year. 

What should sellers do to get their homes ready for market?

I always recommend doing a preinspection so that everything comes back clean.

Should sellers put their homes on the market as is? 

The market does support it right now, but I still think, from a value perspective, if a seller prepares their home properly and it looks clean and well taken care of, they’ll get more money for it.

Photograph: Maria Ponce

CADEY O’LEARY

Jameson Sotheby’s

What should sellers do to get their homes ready for market?

A big thing is figuring out the story of your home and what buyers you want to target with it. Once you have that, you can maximize photography and staging to tell that story.

Where do you see this market headed?

Things are shifting and cooling down — it’s not the crazy feeling there was a few months ago. As young people start to return to work, I think we’ll see a return in demand for city center properties, which have been struggling the last few years. 

Photograph: Melissa Song Photography

LINA SHAH

Coldwell Banker

What features are buyers responding to right now?

Homes aren’t just about the inside anymore. That’s the major change of the last few years. If you have a patio, clean it up. Add flowers. Add seating to your balcony to show warmth.

What should sellers do to get their homes ready for market?

Neutralize everything, including curtains. You can make a dated room look different instantly with just a few small decor tweaks.

Photograph: Jigna Manair Photography

RAYmond MORANDI

Morandi Properties

Should sellers renovate before putting their houses on the market?

Not right now. Everything is so expensive with supply chain issues that you’re going to pay a lot for renovations when you can still get top dollar for your house in this market. 

How can buyers improve their offers beyond just the dollar amount?

Having a reputable lender is huge right now.

Photograph: Ray Morandi

DAVE SHALABI

RE/Max

What one thing can be an immediate turnoff to buyers?

The eye looks down all the time, and if trim isn’t flush or clean, it can be a big deal.

How can buyers get a leg up in this hot market?

The best offer is not always the highest one. It’s important to understand what the seller wants. That might mean a specific closing date, or even having a trusted lender speak to a buyer’s qualifications to ensure a smooth sale. 

What is a reasonable number of repairs to request after the inspection?

It’s not about a dollar amount but safety. Roofs, windows, and larger mechanicals — those are all part of the safety of the home. Offering a home warranty is obviously beneficial to the buyer, but I tell the seller, “This saves you a headache too.” It can make the process go more smoothly.

Photograph: Dave Shalabi

SWATI SAXENA

Baird & Warner

What one thing can be an immediate turnoff to buyers?

Exterior photos with piles of snow or leaves make people feel like the property isn’t cared for.

What should sellers do to get their homes ready for market?

You want it to look neutral and almost like a model. Fresh paint, decluttered, neutral art. I tell my clients to imagine they’re going out to dinner: You dress differently if you’re going to a drive-through versus a wedding. You’re still not coming home hungry, but you’re going to have a very different experience. 

Photograph: Kristin Cashmore

Brady Andersen

The GGL Group, Compass

What design touches are buyers looking for these days?

We’re seeing a move away from gray walls — whites are in. And for a long time, people wanted dark hardwood floors, but those have been lightening up as well.

At what point should sellers consider a price cut?

Market times have gone down considerably. If you don’t have a contract in 30 days in this market, it’s probably because of the price. 

Photograph: Sheri Whitko Photography

MARIO GRECO

MG Group, BHHS Chicago

What extremes have you seen buyers go to in this hot market?

I just had one pay 5 percent more than asking on an as-is property. They waived the mortgage contingency, waived the ability to negotiate after the appraisal, and they’re allowing the seller to live in the home rent-free for 90 days or until they find another home. And our offer barely won. 

What is a reasonable number of repairs to request after the inspection?

Depending on the demand for the property, none. Eighty percent of my listing sales this year have had zero inspection requests. It’s not a market for the timid.

How can sellers best promote their properties?

You’d be surprised how many people think that iPhone photos in portrait mode are somehow going to sell their property.Everything needs to be professional. The easier you can make it for the buyer to see themselves in there, the better.

Photograph: Mario Greco

STACI SLATTERY

The Biazar Group, North Clybourn Group

What one thing can be an immediate turnoff to buyers?

In condos that have a common hallway, it needs to be kept immaculate. If there are salt stains on the stairs from winter, or rusty wrought iron, those things can be a big turnoff but are very easy fixes.

Should I renovate before I put my property on the market?

If you take on a renovation under the gun when you’re wanting to go to market, it’s costly. People need to have the mindset that owning a home is a process of improvement, doing repairs and renovations as you go along.

Photograph: North Clybourn Group

AMY KITE

The Kite Team, Keller Williams

What one thing can be an immediate turnoff to buyers?

Uneven flooring is a big one. When you can tell that a homeowner did a project on their own — corners aren’t square, surfaces aren’t level — it makes you worry about what else they aren’t doing correctly. 

How can buyers get a leg up in this hot market?

Ask the seller what’s most important to them. It’s not always about money — it might be about the closing date or something else.

Photograph: Kelly Moore

Help/FAQ

featured

own shows