Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo to You, Scooby Doo...

Enough of the doom and gloom financial market
Tricks, already. How about an evening of sugar coated Treats instead? My wife is dressing up in a mini skirt as the Real Estate Witch of Forest Glen this year so BEWARE all you short little sellers looking for some cheap bargains on Balmoral Avenue. The Hound of the Baskervilles has her back (see above) so there'll be no fooling around on this eerie Chicago eve. You might just get bit in the butt by who know who, Rooby Roo..... (once again, see above)

ps...Don't grab with both hands (the candy) and remember to say thank you, Mrs Petro. Oh yeah, and if you insist on being unreasonable in these slightly scary times, then at least bring your highest and best trick. In other words, No Contingencies!


Geno Petro

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Doctor's Loan: Part 3 in a Series

A Treat...not a Trick!

Bank of America's Doctor's Loan Mortgage is an excellent financing option for physicians whether they recently graduated from medical school, in residency, or who have been in practice and already established in their servicing community. (Chris Hahn here in Chicago is the man I refer my real estate business to in these situations.) I've previously written about this here and here.

Many new medical school graduates are searching for loans with low interest rates and little or zero down payment. They don't care to use their student loan debt in the qualifying debt ratio and hope to project future income into the scenario, even before they start their first assignment. Chris and I, over the past months, have discussed at length a variety of programs that address such needs for this specialized condo and new home buyer.

Unfortunately, all standard Fannie Mae loans would outright deny such scenarios and most candidates using more traditional financing vehicles, would fail to secure and lock down the best rates once a potential property is identified. A lot of lenders try and work through these deals as non-conforming loans (with higher rates and rather static terms.) Chris Hahn offers a very competitive (if not the best) rate, little (sometimes zero) down payment, and does not include deferred student loans in the young (or old!) doctor's debt ratios. There is no Private Mortgage Insurance requirement (which allows for more of the monthly payment to go directly toward Principle and Interest) and once again, the physician or resident can qualify based on future income even before actually received.

Whether you are considering buying real estate here in Chicago or in any municipality across America that offers health care to its community, Chris Hahn can accomodate your post medical school financing needs. You can Subscribe to this Blog by registering in the sidebar and you can Search the Entire Chicago MLS (Multiple Listing Service) by simply following this link.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yikes Stripes!

So I was standing on the sidewalk in front of my 33 E. 26th Street Chicago real estate listing watching the tow truck yank a late model Crown Victoria from the front patio of my client's residence. The vehicle (driver?) somehow (drinking?) managed to leave the roadway, jump the curb, carom across the sidewalk and crash through the iron fence before coming to rest a few feet from the sliding glass door, the gas guzzling beast left teetering above the sunken patio. My showing appointment was due in 15 minutes and I was hoping (praying) that at least the car would be gone by then. From what I was told it had been dangling there for hours. Passersby couldn't help stopping for a gander. Unbelievable, really.

A man and a woman walked up to me and announced that they lived in the next building (same project) and that they too, may want to go on the market in the Spring; or so I think I understood them to say. I could barely interpret their broken (shattered) English. My guess, if I had to put money on it (from all my dining experience), would be Mainland Chinese. Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood, after all, is only a few blocks away.

"Ours on top floor. No car." They smile very wide. "Joke."

"Yes, it is very funny," I say. "I get it." And it is. Funny. Sort of. If you don't actually own the condo. And if it's not your Listing. And if you didn't have a showing in 15 minutes.

I ponder my options and decide to keep the showing appointment as I wave goodbye to my new friends next door. They wave back animately. I wait for 30 minutes. I get blown off. Yet again. So much for advertising on Craigslist.

(On a side note, check out my latest post on Bloodhound Blog.)

Geno Petro

pix by mike drury and me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God F.S.B.O. in Chicago

I suppose it's how one defines 'Good News' (or even God, for that matter). Personally, I'm getting mixed messages here. As I snapped these shots I couldn't help but feel a little put off that The Owner chose not to use a realtor or more critically, that He didn't see this whole economic downturn thing coming in the first place. And what's more, He's trying to save a few points on the commission by selling it Himself. Good luck with that Master Plan, Big Guy.

Also, since He created everything to begin with, one would think He'd have picked a better location to set up shop but maybe this is just sour grapes on my part. I haven't been feeling the Love lately even though people have mentioned to me from time to time that I am a 'miracle' although quite possibly, tongue in cheek. I gave the number on the F.S.B.O. sign a call just for the hell of it (pun) and some guy named Peter picked up. Hmmm...

For Sale By Owner. Makes perfect sense to me. As I've mentioned many times over the years, I was a real estate consumer long before I was ever a real estate professional. And since moving to Chicago 13 years ago (OMG...I mean OMF.S.B.O., has it been that long already?) I've negotiated more than my mortal share of deals on both sides of the property fence so I don't begrudge Someone trying to save a buck or two by selling it Himself. Just be careful. There are a lot of unsavory characters walking around this Earth but then again, I suppose that would be preaching to the Choir, telling Noah about the flood, Jonah about the whale, et al...

Geno Petro

ps... Happy Birthday Dad. There's a UPS box on your front porch. I hope.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I think I thought (I saw you try)

'That's me in the Corner'

My voter registration card came in the mail this morning, just under the wire as usual. And rightly so. I don't know what I think about politics these days, I really don't. It is one of those subjects I've always mentally deferred to the pundits who are supposed to know better than I---specifically politicians, elected officials (the actual winners, please), and those who objectively report and editorialize on the red, blue and green concerns of this culturally divided country. (Isn't there some uniform 'Objective Oath' everyone in the Media is required to take after journalism/modeling school? Maybe not. Maybe I ditched that day in high school and am just experiencing a time released Poli-Sci hallucination.)

Same thing, I believe, holds true with the medicine/health care industry that everyone is always yapping about. I just assume the doctors and everyone else involved in that profession--nurses, administrators, pharmaceutical salesmen--know what's new and shiny in the field and their word is, well...up. Word up, Doc. There is an Oath they all pledge to, I'm almost positive (although maybe not for the salesmen). In other words, I've always relied on sources outside my own subjective cranium (thick head) for the real, unfiltered, 'down low' (Oprah) on what is swirling around me in this universe of billions and trillions (population and national debt respectively).

For reasons too personal to delve into here, my own 'first thoughts' are usually self-motivated and thus, make me lack the objectivity needed to execute clear, unfettered judgments in areas where voices must be heard and votes counted. This is why I skim over 30 to 40 blogs each day--many more on a slow Chicago real estate day--for other peoples' opinions and insights (hey, I'm a fast if not totally retentive reader with a relatively short attention span and a fairly open mind...I think.). Oh, and I've always read into musical lyrics more than is actually there. Ah Music! Nature's muse....the true opiate of the peeps. 'Like a hurt lost and blinded fool, fool...'

Most bloggers (some professional but many more amateur and apparently lonely) I read are so out of their minds over one candidate or the other that the noise is just confusing me even more. I have to say, I'm a little worried about more than a few of my fellow scribes given the subjective, party line diatribes I've been perusing these past few weeks.

November 4th, 2008, will be the 14th presidential Election Day of my life; 13 of which I have at least a passing (vague?) recollection. And quite honestly, nothing much besides fashion, technology and music has changed from this man's vantage point. My own personal time traveling bubble that has been hovering 5 feet 10 inches above this Earth since the mid-1950s still can't push through the rhetoric and the political buzz that surrounds such red letter events as Election Day; dull, stale, and obtuse as its always been....

When I was four years old, there was a Kennedy family who lived in a custom Levittowner at the top of our drive. The father was a steel mill supervisor who wore a suit and they had a hundred kids running around their expanded, single level asbestos sided American Dream. In my small mind I remember thinking it was him everyone was talking about, this Mr. Kennedy. He was a man who lived at the top of our hill and just got elected President, whatever that meant. I remember wondering why my own father wasn't the one who got elected although he only wore a suit on Sundays. Maybe that was it, I thought. My wife told me she wondered the same thing about her own father when she was a kid. Ironically, the two most decent and honest men we both know are not on the ballot this year and never have been.

'Losing My Religion?'

Perhaps. I think Sarah Palin is cute (especially the Photo Shopped versions) although I've known much cuter, and Barack Obama is handsome and alert. Joe Biden and John McCain, both strained and blurry through these weakening eyes, somehow remind me of two old college fraternity rivals reminiscing back to a time when everyone wore coon skin hats and big Varsity letters on their sweaters. A Tom Collins society. Wing tips and tie bars. Mad men from another era. Someone is yelling into a megaphone..."Go Harvard! Go Yale!" No Ivy League child left behind...

There is incongruity along party lines. Both sides are mismatched, I observe. And I'm pretty sure at least one of the four in this presidential spotlight isn't even a real politician. (Guess who.) So my question to the universe is: Why do I even have to order off this menu at all? Chicken or Fish? Hmmm. Can I get back to you on that?

"Honey, don't RSVP my cousin's Vinny's wedding just yet. The first two times he got married the food was outstanding. But this time, well..."

"Maybe the loan sharking business is feeling the crunch too," my Honey retorts.

"Hey, don't be judgmental," I quip. "The politically correct term is Sub Prime. That side of the family is sensitive."

"Anyone offering only chicken and fish to registered gift-toting guests is not sensitive," she says. "This I do know, political, familial, or otherwise."

"They're Democrats," I whisper, not even knowing what party I belong to anymore. And by the way, where exactly have you gone, Joe The Plumber DiMaggio? (sorry, had to slip it in.)

'Just a dream, just a dream'

a) How has my life changed since I've been a voting adult?

... and...

b) How much of this 'change' do I attribute to government interaction?

The answers in order are:

a) A lot.


b) Zero.

I make the money I make. I pay the taxes I pay according to the tax code that's in place at the time. I either do or do not have health insurance on any given day depending on who I go to and who choses to participate in whatever plan I subscribe to. I basically do what I'm told (not really) as mandated by the rules of life in general.

What I'm saying is I just don't feel strongly one way or another about any of the choices on my ballot this go-round. I'm not so sure those running for office do either. I've watched every debate with as objective a mind as someone who doesn't give a crap can. I'm telling you, juxtapose the sound bites and distort the voices and I'll be damned if they're not all proclaiming the very same thing--Utopia. Opiate. Bullshat....

I go back to the mail on my desk. I look at the voter registration card I just received and study the front. My name is misspelled. I glance at the wedding invitation tucked between the pages of a half read article about Cindy McCain in The New Yorker. The accompanying illustration makes her appear prettier than she really is. I pull out the makeshift bookmark and examine it. Chicken or fish? I finally come to a conclusion:

When improperly prepared, fish can actually taste like chicken. And what could possibly be worse than that? The opposite, I suppose. I check Will Not Attend and throw it back on top of the pile of other undecided rhetoric on my desk. Note to self: 'unjam the shredder.'

Geno Petro

assorted lyrics by R.E.M.

photo courtesy of C. McCain's medicine cabinet

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stat, Stat! (Doctor's Loan Part 2)

Stat: –adverb Medicine/Medical Informal. Immediately.

Like many people my age (teenager in the 1970s), M*A*S*H* reruns are forever ingrained in sepia, stored in the back of my mental media vault. The familiar theme song--something about painless suicide (how romantic), the helicopter landing with stretchers and MDs scurrying, that blond actress with those fat (hot?) lips made it all so glamorous to be an unshaven, martini sipping surgeon in 1950s Korea. I know of at least three guys (including my oldest cousin) who were directly affected by that series and went on to study medicine. I couldn't cut up the frog in Biology so I headed off in another direction (while still having notions of one day at least playing a doctor on TV). As we all know, I ended up in sales.

But for those who wish to follow their Socratic dreams and also possess the grades and wherewithal to back it up, there is one fabulous perk at the end of the journey; Home Mortgage Assistance in the form of a so called Doctor's Loan. And for those blessed Medical Residents who have been sacrificing precious time, money and energy for an 8 extra years, Bank of America is the preferred provider of such a benefit in my book. Chris Hahn, a good friend and personal client (as am I to him), is the B of A man behind this very special plan for Medical Residents, Medical Doctors, Licensed Dental Surgeons specialing in oral and maxillofacial surgery, and full-time Medical Instructors who are also Medical Doctors.

Turn on CNBC (or any financial channel for that matter) this week and you see what we all see--the world Banking System in shambles. Except for Bank of America (and one or two others perhaps), lending institutions across the board are looking to bigger, rock solid suitors for infusions of Capital. Chris Hahn's company is just such a suitor. Bank of America is a beacon to which all other financial institutions turn in dire financial times. And for those in the medical profession, it is the only ship in this housing port with it's low money down programs (5/1 and 7/1 Adjustable Arms as well as 15 and 30 Fixed Rate vehicles). There is no income restrictions and even an allowance for undocumented income is permitted in certain situations. These programs are available for both Purchase and Refinance.

Hawkeye Pierce spent the entire war reminiscing and waxing poetic for his beloved Crabapple Cove, Maine and the quintessential American Dream that it embodied. The House. The Wife. The Kids. And while Chris Hahn and myself can't do much about the latter two, we've both got you covered on the former; The House, and more specifically, the Doctor's Loan that goes with it. It's right up our respective Chicago alleys, so to speak. I personally only do business here in Cook and surrounding counties (Chicagoland) but Chris can originate loans anywhere in America. Just click on his link above or in my sidebar to the right under Mortgage Guru.

So all of you Maxwell Q. Klingers out there, get out your party dresses. It's almost Saturday night. Don't waste all your energy trying to prove you shouldn't be in the Army (or buy a house at the bottom of a market). Dance with the ones 'who brung ya'... (that would be us).

Stat. Stat. It's happy hour at the 4077. The war is almost over and a pristine Cape Cod is waiting for a buyer in your personal Crabapple Cove. (Oh yeah...MDs need only apply.)

Geno Petro

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hey Chicago

Come to Bloodhound Blog OR Geno From Chicago to check out my latest posts across the internet.

Thanks for reading and for your comments. I generally can't respond but I do read every one...more than once!