Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is it safe to come out yet?

We are hunkered down. We've brought in supplies for the long November haul. Our new minds are set. Storm windows are affixed and our shutters pulled tight and locked. Our safes are stuffed with inflated tender; confederate currency for a later day perhaps, pilfered from the Dows, the Joneses, and the Banks of middle America. Our media scouts up on the Hill tell us there is hope on the fiscal horizon but the morning on this day is still dark and cool. We put our ears to the ground and sense apathy rumbling amongst our uncivil servants.

We've opened our garage stables and set our horses free to run in the solar wind, too expensive to maintain anymore. We are willing to walk away from our leveraged homesteads, settling for pennies on the dollar when our escrowed notes expire; Selling short. Falling shorter.

On the safe side of the glass we look across the plains and into the vortex. We count our blessings on one hand and await the new Obama Nation with fingers crossed, on the other. Our children join us on our financial corners begging for spare Euros. You can keep the Change. We want Service... and at least two weeks in Cabo (oceanfront) for the holidays. We are, after all, still Americans.

Geno Petro

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chicago Real Estate Market Charts

Remember dear readers and real estate enthusiasts across Chicago: What went down will come back up. Hopefully, this can help you figure out when. Just Subscribe in the sidebar to the right for the latest Chicago real estate trends >>>>>>>



Each week I receive detailed market research reports for many Chicago neighborhoods. The charts below always reflect the current market. Bookmark this page to keep an eye on the real estate trends in your neighborhood.

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and you can have the latest local details every month!

Chicago Near North Side Real Estate Market (60610)

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60610 Market Update Report

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Chicago Lakeview Real Estate Market (60657)

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60657 Market Update Report

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Chicago Lincoln Park Real Estate Market (60614)

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60614 Market Update Report

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Chicago Wicker Park Real Estate Market (60622)

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60622 Market Update Report

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Chicago Uptown Real Estate Market (60613)

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60613 Market Update Report

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Chicago Edgewater Real Estate Market (60640)

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Chicago Bucktown Real Estate Market (60647)

60647 Market Update Report

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Geno Petro

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Doctor's Loan: Part One in a Series

I was working with an out-of-state client earlier this summer who had just completed the last stage of his Medical Residency and was planning a move to Chicago. He was hoping to purchase a condominium along Lake Michigan that was walking distance to his new hospital and priced around $300,000. The two big, lingering questions on his mind were:

1) 'How would his accrued Medical School debts affect his ability to purchase a first home?'


2) 'How much down payment and closing cost money would be needed for such a purchase?

I immediately shot off an email to Chris Hahn at Bank of America, the only professional source in Chicago I know of who specializes in such a program. This is what I found:

  • While some loans are available with No Money Down, a nominal amount of capital (3-5%) is generally required. Still, this is far less than many conventional conforming loans on the market today.

  • PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) is usually NOT required.

  • Student Loans are NOT counted in the Debt Ratios.

  • Flexible Loan Programs (such as ARMS and Interest Only) are available.

This program is available to Medical Residents, Medical Doctors, Licensed Dental Surgeons specializing in oral and maxillofacial surgery and full-time Medical Instructors who are Licensed Doctors.

Feel free to comment below or simply email Chris Hahn at:


Geno Petro

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chicago Cinema

Mona and I had a bite to eat at La Creperie on Clark Street last evening then afterwards, walked over to the Landmark's Century Centre Cinema for a reception and screening of Chicago Writer/Director Steve Conrad's The Promotion starring Chicago actors John C. Reilly and Fred Armisen. Sponsored by the Midwest Independent Film Festival, a Producer's Panel, headed by long time local movie mainstay Steve Jones, kicked off the non-socializing part of the night at 6:30 followed by the 85 minute semi-dark comedy. Conrad and Jones then held a brief Q&A before everyone, several hundred independent film and media types, flocked to an after party at Forno Diablo on Diversey. I had to grab my wife by the arm and head in the opposite direction; home to reality in Forest Glen and a good night's sleep after a long real estate day (a career as rewarding at times, but not nearly as glamorous, I've concluded).

The beauty of this sweet and funny film, for me, was not so much the clever dialogue and intelligent performances from a variety of local actors but the presence of the various Chicago settings in the frames; a south side grocery store at Greenwood and 55th Street, several vacant lots in gentrifying areas with new construction projects and crafty shots of the skyline in the rack-focused background (not the usual stock footage of the Sears, Hancock, Lakefront, Navy Pier, etc ...), interior settings of 1920's brick apartment dwellings and two-flats, and of course...the cadre of Chicago 'extras' on the street (and in the parking lot--rent the DVD which comes out this week and you'll see what I mean. Hilarious.).

The first Tuesday of every month a different independent film from Chicago (and the other Midwestern states) is featured. My suggestion though, is to inquire about passes in advance. At the ticket booth I was told there was only one ticket left and I reluctantly forked over $10 for it at the urging of my wife. "Don't worry. I'll get in," she promised as she wandered up to the guy standing behind the velvet VIP rope. A few minutes later she was back with a ticket of her own.

"How did you manage that?" I asked.

"I told them my husband was a writer. He asked me 'who's your husband?' I said Geno Petro. He looked down at his paperwork and said 'he's not on the list. What's his name?' I said Geno Petro...okay, maybe he's just a blogger. Anyway, he gave me a ticket for free."

Figures. Beauty works every time. But then again, she actually looks like a movie star. I only look like a blogger.

Geno Petro