Chicago real estate: Pricing is everything
In a tough Chicago housing market, everyone is looking for a deal. Whether you’re looking to sell or buy, the experts agree that pricing is everything.
If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, it is important to think objectively and set a realistic price. Lee Diamond, from Big Shoulders Realty in Chicago, notes that it’s often difficult for sellers to detach themselves from the process when it’s their own home. “Look at your place like a buyer and not a seller when you do everything,” he says.
Once you have your price set, think about cosmetic improvements that increase curb appeal and fix little things, such as leaky faucets. When people are thinking about buying a house they are looking for reasons to rule it out — and little things might make them start thinking about big things that could be wrong.
Home staging can also do a lot in terms of making your house appeal to potential buyers. “I recommend that sellers de-clutter as much as possible, even rent a storage space if they need to,” says Melissa Stanley, of Niche Realty in Chicago.
If you’re thinking about larger remodeling projects, first assess your home and your neighborhood. Find out the typical resale price of homes in your area because you don’t want to have the most expensive house on the block. In this market, many buyers won’t pay more for updates because there are often other homes with comparable improvements and at a lower cost, says Mario F. Greco, from The Mario Greco Group in Chicago.
With a little research, you can see what the average sale price is for homes in your area and determine what your “ceiling” is for investment. Talk to highly rated real estate agents for advice, and check out the Illinois Division of Financial and Professional Regulation's financial calculators.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, low prices and interest rates will likely hold through this year. When evaluating potential purchases, don’t underestimate the value of a quality inspection. Even multiple inspections are becoming more common.
“In this marketplace where little is guaranteed, the few hundred dollars buyers will spend on professional inspections could prevent tens of thousands of dollars in problems later,” Diamond says.