Monday, February 26, 2007

The New '30s'

I try to constantly evolve as a Buyers Representative and thus, continuously explore different 'urban niches' in this Midwestern prairie setting I now call home. In the past few years I have come to work with many 'middle aged' out of town buyers (as I once was myself) as well as a steady drip of suburban empty nesters wishing to 'reverse migrate' back into the city. For me at least, these groups have become part of the most exciting demographic movement in the Chicago housing market today. I'm here to tell you...50 is the new 30----or at the very least, a 40's 'Mulligan.' Like in golf...that first swing (or two) into the lake doesn't count...get it?.... Second wife's a charm, as they say. Anyway, "Bring on the Platinum Years," is my new housing mantra.

Let me take a few moments and share with you the most common 'requirements' I receive on an almost daily basis from this newly emerging demographic. If you're here on my site then you already know its all about the internet with me. Thousands of new visitors pass through these pages each month and while I haven't done the precise research I can say with much certainty that a great portion of my readers are Relocation Buyers and very few of them come from My Space. Over half of my Buy-Side transactions in 2006 came from this 'relocation' and 'move back' market. Anyway, here's the prix fixe menu I've prepared for your perusal this evening:

Heated Garage Parking is a must at whatever cost. Upwards of $40,000 per space is not unusual in these Near North neighborhoods and when it comes to secured spots for the Bimmer and E-Class, the 'more the better' is the order of the day with my typical client.

Same with the Bedroom requirements. Three plus a Den is an optimum layout for these newly urbanized 'tweener' couples. The bedrooms need not be sizable--just comfortable enough for a long weekend stay by the 'nest crashing' kids home from college or for the obligatory bi-annual visit from the folks back in Iowa. Believe me, three days in this city is enough for my parents and in-laws alike and my clients are usually quick to echo the same about their own loved ones. 75 is still the old 75 apparently. And since 21 is also the same 21--an 8x9 cubby space with a Jennifer Convertible off the living room is just fine for starters. The perfect appetizer. Three days and out. "Oh by the way...we're spending your inheritance. We're just not putting the bumper sticker on the Bimmer."

Walking Distance. My clients have a strong desire to walk everywhere and to everything. After 20 years in the suburbs, be it Naperville or Los Angeles, not having to start up the car for a coffee run or Dim Sum to go seems almost utopian---at least in an urban context. And a brisk stroll through the steel and concrete canyons of River North after dinner and drinks at MK is an oh so much hipper experience than a Friday evening power walk through the Woodfield Mall Food Court.

Ahh, the Terrace. Its so much more than a balcony and from much richer breeding stock than the simple suburban deck. Toast the Summer Regalia beneath the stars of skyscraping lights!....premium outdoor space is paramount and, almost across the board I've found, a river view trumps a lake view with this migrating crowd. (And an occasional handrolled Cuban might just be in order if the weather is fair and the Cardiologist concurs. There's a good chance he resides a few buildings away.)

Public 'greenspace' within peeing distance of Rover. While these people definitely are fond of their children, they are simply obsessed with their pets--more specifically, their dogs. Dog Walking is a cottage industry in this town. Mine gets a 1099 from me at the end of the year.

"Try and keep it under a million," one of my favorite clients recently told me. "We're moving here to work less, not more."

I sell across many markets in Chicago and in any given month I market and show listings throughout the North, South Loop and near West sides of the city. I've helped a recent college graduate buy his first condo with 103% financing and was just recently referred to a couple born in 1926 by my Mortgage Guru who also structures the majority of my deals. I like everybody! But there is something special to me about helping those who are new to this town find their housing groove. The MLS Search Engines available these days are awesome--and I believe ours is the best in Chicago--but there's just no getting around the two dimensional aspect of the typical internet drill.

And I'm especially fond and admiring both, of those 'mid-life' couples who choose to re-define themselves and their domestic situation by moving into the rush and shuffle of the city. I believe I'm cut from the same fabric as these folks and while my wife is currently experiencing her own new 20's of the 40's (I'm in trouble no matter how I put it), she takes my word for it and has come along for the ride. So you see, I know what you are looking for. And whenever possible, I do my best to keep it "under a million." Way under in most cases!

photo by alibaba

Geno Petro

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