Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Top Ten Chicago Real Estate Deals April 2015

600 N Kingsbury, Chicago 60654
600 N Kingsbury, Chicago 60654. Photo courtesy of  MRED.

Click here to see my April 2015 Top Chicago Real Estate Deal selections (9 out of **10 are listed under $450,000!)

**Be sure to check out #10. It's one of my own listings; a special commercial Chicago real estate offering @$750,000. Zoned C1-2. Turn-key coin-op Laundromat or buy it for the land value (12,000 sq feet). Short Sale opportunity.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor


Monday, April 06, 2015

Chicago Voters Step Out For CHUY!

Emma & Cindy standing proud for Chuy Garcia @Broadway & Sunnyside

Pictured Above: Emma & Cindy (Cindy being the shorter, less fashionably dressed one) showing last minute support for Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia in Chicago's Uptown Neighborhood. Garcia faces incumbent Rahm Emanuel in the city's first-ever mayoral runoff election on Tuesday. If elected, Chuy will also become the first Latino mayor in Chicago history.

Now to be fair to Rahm, someone did stick a sign in a median strip for him on Ashland Avenue (pictured below). But personally, I'll take a loyal volunteer and a dog in a tee-shirt any election day of the week. There are still some things $$ can't buy in this town.  #Chuy2015

Mayoral Campaign Signs @Ashland & Berteau

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor


Thursday, April 02, 2015

Make A Wrigley Wish

Left Field View of Wrigley From Clark St 04/01/2015

Took a short walk over to Wrigley Field yesterday. With 72 hours to go until the 2015 Home Opener @Clark & Addison, it looks as if the union trades will be logging triple-overtime to get her ready. The Cardinals swing into town this Sunday night for a three game series; two under the lights and one afternoon. Good news is the snow has melted. Bad news...sorry, it's Spring in Chicago and its baseball season--there is no bad news.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Snow Squall (Chicago Style)

Agatite Ave, Chicago
Agatite Ave, Chicago

Chicago just wont let it go. Snapped this on my way to an Uptown neighborhood listing appointment on Monday, March 23 (less than 72 hours after Spring officially began). Hey, if you can't complain about the weather around here, you're only left with the traffic, the potholes, and the politics. Chilly subject matter on all fronts, to be sure.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor


Chicago Snail Mail Fail

mail room junk mail
My Chicago High Rise Mail Room 

I'm no David Axelrod but I have to think there are a hundred better ways for Chicago run-off candidates to get their last minute political pleas across than pounding our postal service with direct mail -- Every. Single. Day. I figure they're spending about $500 a day (print, postage & labor) on my 900+ unit building alone. And clearly, the picture above speaks to the ROI. Come on.

#chicagoelectionfail #saveatree

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rush Hour Reality Check

Chicago intersection @ Ashland & Webster

A Friendly Reminder From The Universe: There's always someone with a crappier job than you.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chicago Real Estate.House on Facebook

^ ^ ^ Chicago Real Estate.House ^ ^ ^

Greetings from Chicago!

Next time you're doodling on Facebook, please stop by and 'Like' my Chicago Real Estate.House business page here, or just be my regular everyday friend here.

Muchas gracias my amigos,

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chicago Top 10 Condo Deals March 2015

Relocating to the Windy City? Considering a condo or co-op in Chicago? Give or take a price point (or two), here's what you can expect to get for your half-million $$  (-$500,000+) on the Near North and Near West Sides of the city. Simply click here to take an early peek at my Top Ten Real Estate Deals for March, 2015

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chicago Record Low

Now, on the 'glass is half-full' side of the Chicago weather coin, it's 'Mostly Sunny.' FOL (Freezing Out Loud)

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Chicago Real Estate 2015 Forecast!

Click here >>> 2015 Chicago Real Estate Forecast <<< Click there
(to catch the scoop with my latest article!)

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wrigleyville's Historic Groundkeeper's House

circa 1923 Wrigleyville caretakers house
circa 1923 Wrigleyville caretakers house relocation

Built in 1923 for baseball field caretaker and groundskeeper, Bobby Dorr, this historic brick abode (pictured above) was spared the wrecking ball, hoisted up on an industrial strength trailer, and is currently awaiting relocation as renovations continue within the  'Friendly Confines' of Wrigley Field in Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood. On a side note: original cost of construction 92 years ago? $6,000.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Friday, January 09, 2015

Top 10 Chicago Real Estate Deals

Van Buren Street Loft
1224 Van Buren St, Chicago 60607

I'm keeping it real this year, folks. To start off 2015, all my Chicago top real estate picks for January are listed below $400,000. Click here to check it. All are 3 Bedrooms/2 Bath with Parking and low HOA fees.

See ya on the street.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

You Only Need One Realtor...Capisce?

Geno Petro

Every couple months the same scenario unfolds in my real estate life: a prospective Buyer happens across my Chicago MLS search engine (usually by means of a long-tail Google real estate search, i.e.,'Wrigleyville MLS search,' 'Uptown Chicago neighborhood property search,' 'Pet Friendly Chicago Rentals,' etc.); they proceed to log on and register; they 'Favorite' several listed properties; and then, usually after a repeat visit or two, request either a 'showing' or 'additional information.' My immediate response to these new registrants is always the same: "Are you currently working with another Realtor?"

^ And here's why >>>: You. Only. Need. One. Buyers. Agent., period.

^ And here's why >>>: The. Listing. Agent. Always. Represents. The. Seller., period.
(unless its a Dual Agency situation, in which case, a very narrow and specific set of real estate laws apply in Illinois.)

^ And here's why >>>: Because while legal in this state, Dual Agency dilutes the negotiating power of both the Buyer and the Seller while simultaneously restricting the powers of the designated Realtor. Period.

**[Things get even hairier when the Buyer has reached out to multiple Realtors during the same property search. It's also worth mentioning that while most web sites (mine included) provide consumer access to every listed property on the MLS--99.9999% of those are NOT the personal listings of the web site owner. So its feasible that the Buyer has not only been in touch with the Listing Agent and possibly their own Agent, but also the Agent(s) whose website(s) they are surfing, and any other part-time licensed relative with a real estate opinion willing to jump into the mix.]

Now of course, there is no law that dictates a buyer must use a Realtor (or even have a Buyers Agent at all) to purchase a property. This is still America, for crissakes. If you are a consumer and feel you are well-versed in Cook County tax pro-ration arrears lingo; closing cost line items; city, county and state tax stamps; all contingency clauses and the earnest money protocol with each; as well as lines 181 through 261 of even the simplest CAR real estate purchase contract (assuming, of course, you have access to such a contract), then by all means...Proceed. With. The. Process.  Otherwise, a clear understanding with your Realtor of choice and a signed Buyers Agent Agreement may be the safest route down that tricky path.

Just understand this: once you open up a specific conversation with the Listing Agent on your own--even at an open house-- 'implied agency' (representation) may occur at any future step and you may find yourself in a 'procuring cause' situation that won't permit you to start using your own Realtor later even if you want to--or at least your own Realtor who expects to be paid for their services. Remember, the Listing Agent directs the distribution of commissions and 'representation' does not automatically dictate 'compensation' in Illinois. It's a fancy way of saying 'you dance with the one who brung ya.'

**So if you want to see things get unsavory quickly, just have three different Chicago Realtors show up at the same closing table for the same deal, expecting to get paid--and have one of them be me. (lol...but not really.)

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nighthawks At An Uptown Diner

Golden House Restaurant Uptown Chicago
Golden House Restaurant in Uptown Chicago

The Golden House Restaurant, tucked next to the Riviera Theatre in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, is a 1960s throwback to an epicurean era when 'greasy spoon' trumped 'haute cuisine' everyday of the week and twice on Sundays; or at least for the locals north of Wilson and either side of Broadway. I peeked through the gritty window and snapped this shot of the lone waitress hunkering down over a late night cup of Joe while a patron tried to catch some shut-eye in a crimson booth in the back. And like the sign says: BREAKFAST SPECIAL  2 Large Eggs with Potatoes and Toast $3.75. A pre-holiday nod to 'all the gypsie hacks and insomniacs,' in the spirit of Tom Waits and Edward Hopper.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Steps to Purchasing Property in Chicago

451 Huron Penthouse
Penthouse rooftop patio of  my SOLD 451 W Huron listing

I've posted these Chicago Real Estate Purchase Steps in varying forms over the years but I believe the message bears repeating. The buy and sell transaction process is handled a little differently here than in other areas of the country (or even in the state of Illinois). For example, it is important that a real estate attorney is retained for the title work as well as the actual 'closing' of the property, i.e., explaining the loan and deed documents and making sure that all the required paperwork is signed and dated correctly. Title companies in Chicago rarely 'conduct' the final escrow activities other than to provide 'instructions' to all parties, collect and distribute checks,  and forward on all documents to their respective institutions (lender, Cook County Recorder of Deeds, current lien holders, etc) after signatures.  Most attorneys, however, are not involved in the initial contract negotiation. They generally step in after the offer is accepted, right before the Attorney Review/Modification period begins. They are free to amend whatever is legally necessary at that juncture. (See Step 10 below.)

But before all of that, a dozen or so other events must occur in a fairly specific timeline. I think we all know that the initial stages of  'pre-purchasing' occurs on-line these days. Generally the consumer 'Googles' a few broad housing terms before finding a real estate web site they like and begin 'drilling down' to a specific property type in a specific Chicago neighborhood. For this reason, my list starts once you're ready to actually start looking in person.

Also, you must know--and be prepared for--the whole 'earnest money' aspect of submitting or accepting an offer in Chicago. While earnest money is not technically required in a real estate offer, good luck trying to buy something around here without it.  Anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 'initial earnest money' is expected once an offer is 'accepted' followed by an additional 5-10% of the purchase price after Attorney Review is complete. Personal checks are generally acceptable unless the closing is scheduled before funds can clear.

Finally, a few rules of thumb to consider when making or accepting an offer: 30 days and under is considered a 'quick' close; 45-60 days, 'usual & customary' length of time to close; 60 days or lmore, a 'long' close.  So, without further adieu, the following are 23 necessary steps you will need to take before popping the champagne on your new balcony: 

1) Initial Consultation (Screen / Interview Buyers Agents)

2) Mortgage Pre-Approval & Letter

3) View Prospective Homes / Identify a Property

4) Present Purchase Contract To Listing Agent

5) Initial Earnest Money ($1,000---$10,000 Made Out To Listing Office / Attorney Trust Account / Title Company)

6) Negotiate Offer (Counteroffer, Price, Terms, Close Date)

7) Acceptance Of Offer by Seller (Agreement) / Final Signatures And Initials On Original Contract

8) Contact, Fax Documents To Attorneys, Lenders, etc.

9) Contingency Periods Begin (Mortgage, Home Close, etc--Usually 30-90 Days from Accepted Offer)

10)  Attorney Period Begins (Usually 5-10 Business Days From Accepted Offer) / Modify Contract/ Acquire Budget And By-Laws (Condominium)

11)  Professional Home Inspection 

12) Both Attorneys' Approval on Modified Contract (5-10 Business Days After Acceptance) / Appraisal Ordered (Lender)

13) Balance of Earnest Money, if Required, Due to Listing Office / Attorney Trust Account / Title Company

14) Await Appraisal (Lender)

15) Loan Commitment After Contingency Period Ends (Usually 30 Days From Acceptance)

16)  Acquire Homeowners Insurance Policy

17)  Interview With Condo/Co-Op Board (Usually In High rise Buildings)

18) Await Closing (UP TO 9 MONTHS IF A SHORT SALE)

19) Transfer Utilities & Change Of Address / Schedule Movers

20) Estimate Of Funds Needed At Closing (Good Faith From Lender including $7.50 per $1,000 City Transfer Stamp to be paid by Buyer)

21) Final Walk Through Or Punch List (New Construction)

22) Closing (Usually 30-90 Days From Signed Acceptance Of Contract By The Seller / UP TO 9 MONTHS IF A SHORT SALE)

23) Celebrate! You're A Home Owner!!!

Simple huh? Perhaps, but having a Realtor experienced in contract negotiation is a big plus in Chicago's high dollar market. 
'Broker Reciprocity' allows for all of us brokers (or at least those of us who actually built and maintain websites) to share each others listings with the general public so anyone can find a property they like on their own. The transparent nature of the industry, with its thousands reciprocal of web sites, allows for this, anymore.  Successfully executing a contract, however, requires great experience. There are several links to my GenoPetro.House search engine on this page and throughout my blog. 

Reach out to me at any time or simply Google 'Geno Petro' for everything else in the property buying and selling universe there is to know about me. There's never a fee for my buy-side representation and my listing (sell-side) fees are aggressively competitive with my peers. Laid back, no pressure advocacy is my hallmark.

Geno Petro | Chicago Realtor

Sunday, December 14, 2014

West Town Chicago Condo Open House Today!

OPEN HOUSE TODAY @1516 W Grand Ave, Chicago 60642   11:00-1:00PM (see vid below)
2 Bedroom/2 Bath Condo For Sale - 1516 West Grand Ave. Unit 2W, Chicago, IL 60642...
See More

Property Site: 2 Bathrooms: 2 bathrooms Square Feet: 1500 Price: $348,500 MLS ID: 08760598 For more informati...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Calder Red at the Chicago Fed

red Flamingo Calder sculpture
'Flamingo' by Calder. Chicago Federal Plaza

Vermilion; they call it Calder red. Constructivist; smaller pieces joined together to form one large stabile. Mies van der Rohe backdrop: Forty years later, less is still more.  In 1974 Alexander Calder's 'Flamingo' was unveiled at the newly christened Federal Plaza in the 'Loop' district of downtown Chicago. Standing more than fifty feet high and complex in its artistic restraint, this promontory sculpture catches my eye each time I pass it.