Thursday, February 07, 2008

Is Snow Organic? (or just distasteful)

This is one of the many windows in my house I stare out of when the snow is too deep to shovel, there is unwanted excess time on my hands, or I can't think of one meaningful real estate-centric item to write about without being negative about the political forces that be in this city; in other words, any and all events outside of my control that cost me (and my clients) money. And in case you haven't noticed---from the Chicago Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), to the the public servants we taxpayers elected to mandate law in City Hall, to that pontificating supernova of talking hairdos that calls itself The Media---it's all political.

That, and there's nothing good to eat in my house. Everything we have on the shelves or in the fridge seems to be organic and personally, I was just fine with the old way--pre-organic or un-organic or not organic or whatever it used to be called before our grocery bill doubled. Cold, hungry, with nothing really upbeat to say about my chosen profession is not a good place for an otherwise blithe real estate blogger like me to find himself in. The half-full glass of organic pomegranate juice starts looking a little half-empty, if you know what I'm saying.

You see, one recent Chicago real estate news 'development,' reported in tandem with another non-related but equally germain city 'issue,' has had me speaking in tongues back to my car radio every day for a week now; as if mere rush hour traffic in itself isn't enough to make a holy man, much less a sinner like myself, take you know Who's name in vain a dozen times in as many city blocks behind a staggered bevy of CTA buses, insane bicyclists (oh yeah) and C-Dot snow plows. So here it is, laid out for you; the ugly reality that has me seeking something warm and beautiful on the other side of the frosted window pane...

First of all, the Cook County property tax bills are arriving in the mail again this week (for some smelly political reason I won't go into here) just a mere 60 days after the last semi-annual payment was due in full. In my case, this is another $6,000 thanks to the sad fact that the city is always 18 months in the arrears and I closed on my new house last September before the tax pro-ration formula could be accurately factored into my settlement costs. BTW, we couldn't determine the actual tax at that time because (again, for the same smelly reason I won't go into here) the budget wasn't balanced in Springfield and the whole process was excessively late due to legislative bickering. I've never been to Springfield but I'm pretty sure I hate it there.


Secondly, the City of Chicago Aldermen (i.e. our elected officials), against the wishes of, I dare say, every future property owner within a 12 mile radius of City Hall (i.e. the city limits) and any self-respecting buy-side representative who pays his dues to C.A.R., overwhelmingly (41-6) passed a 40% Property Stamp increase on future real estate purchases, effective April 1st of this year. The new 'Transfer Stamp' (which is a political word for a #@&#! tax) is now $10.50 per each $1,000 of purchase price. (That's over $5,000 on a $500,000 purchase, $10,500 on a million.) The old 'Stamp' of $7.50 per $1,000 was already barely palatable and considered by most on the buy side of any real estate transaction to be the ugliest line on the HUD statement.

Those two concurrent issues along with organic food in general are really putting me off right now. So like I said; I'm staring out the window, eating a carrot stick (from a gently hugged,locally grown carrot tree, no doubt), imagining something warm and beautiful on the other side to write about. Deep breath...

Let's phone has been ringing, albeit not off the hook, but ringing, nonetheless. Two listings recently came under contract and another just closed. Our internet presence appears to be handling anything Morse's Law might extrapolate into the foreseeable future and clients are in my car every weekend for the next four weeks. I suppose as long as you don't mind paying taxes and you don't care what what you put in your mouth or how much it costs then hell, it's sunny and 72 outside... as long as you wear shades and four layers of gortex. Oh yeah...and saved up for a snowy tax day.

ps...I know that carrots really don't grow on trees but it's as funny as I can allow myself be under such circumstances...

Geno Petro

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