Just in case you were wondering, there will be no more posts to this blog beyond this one here, as I've moved. Check it out over at www.60646blog.com.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
A friend of mine (from the SF Bay Area, no less) sent me an email, and asked me to check out the "Get Directions" tab on Google Maps maps.google.com. For the origination point, I was supposed to type in New York, and my destination would be London. Now press the "Get Directions" button. Pay particular attention to the left side of your computer screen, and scroll down to step #23.
Being a Realtor, I love maps. And I particularly love Google. But some programmer over at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway must have really had a cynical day when he/she coded step 23.
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 5:46 PM
Sunday, April 08, 2007
This week, the Carnival of Real Estate is hosted by Jay Thompson, a.k.a. The Phoenix Real Estate Guy. Having tremendously enjoyed Jay hosting CoRE #33, about a month ago, I look forward to his best-of-breed blog picks, this week.
Oh, in case you were wondering what the Carnival is all about, have a look here:
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 10:36 PM
Saturday, April 07, 2007
My business partner and I just listed a home in Chicago's toney western suburb of Wheaton. This fact alone is not much news, except that the house has some interesting history: It used to be the childhood home of our nationally beloved Belushi Brothers. You know, John and Jim... But let me back up here for a minute.
We have a client who bought this ranch-style house in Wheaton back in 2005, with the intention to remodel it, and to move in with his family. His primary motivation was to live in a pleasant community with a top-notch school system. Our client didn't know that the Belushi brothers moved in and were raised in this house during the mid 50's, until some time during the middle of the purchase process. Good thing, because he himself is a huge fan of Jim Belushi. Rather than tearing down this one-story ranch, it was given a complete makeover and received a brandnew second story. We're talking 6 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and an attached two-car garage, all situated on a 67'x160' parcel. Unfortunately, our client's plans of moving into this house changed which is the reason why it's now for sale. Have a look at what this house is all about, today:
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 5:18 PM
Friday, April 06, 2007
This article from MSN is almost a year old, but in light of ongoing mortgage fraud still a timely read. I readily admit, Baskin-Robbins is a lot more tasty. Another excellent blog by attorney and Certified Mortgage Banker, Rachel Dollar, that deals with mortgage fraud can be found here.
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 2:41 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Businessweek reports in their April 2, 2007 edition that two finance professors have looked at the relationship between stock performance and the size of a CEO's home. Finally, you have a tool that'll help you determine where and where not to invest. All you have to do is to figure out where the CEO of a particular company you want to invest in, lives. Drive by, take some measurements, and prosper.
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 12:16 PM
Thursday, May 18, 2006
You're sitting on the fence, waiting for the right moment to jump into this adventure called homeownership. You've met with a mortgage professional who reviewed your credit history and income status, pre-approved you for a mortgage, and explained the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) to you. Right then and there you came to the realization that your estimated closing expenses are enormously high. Which is really the reason why you're still sitting on the fence, procrastinating, pondering whether or not you should go forward with your home purchase plan.
If the above scenario describes your situation, there is good news for you. It's called the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The concept is simple: CRA was enacted by Congress in 1977, providing federal money to specific lenders who have proven that they follow ethical lending practices. This money is intended to entice lenders to make conforming mortgage loans in areas (CRA zones) that are considered to be "up and coming", or are in need of further development. These funds can be used to help buyers lower their closing fees and/or interest rate to entice them to buy in areas specified by government.
What areas are considered CRA zones? There are currently 653 pockets of CRA zones in the City of Chicago. CRA zone eligibility changes quarterly, so it is imperative that the EXACT property address is known to determine whether or not a specific property is eligible. Please contact me so I can help you determine the CRA status of any property in Chicago that you are considering purchasing. The importance of confirming the exact property address cannot be stressed enough, as there have been examples of properties in the past that were eligible for this program, whereas properties across the street did not fall within a CRA zone.
How much money could be saved? In most cases, buyers are eligible for up to one full point of their first loan amount or $3,000, whichever is less. This will appear as a "Lender Credit" on the GFE and Settlement Statement (HUD-1). For example, if the purchase price of a property is $400,000 and the buyer is putting down 10%, the loan amount is $360,000. The buyer is eligible for $3,000 to buy down their interest rate or to help pay for his closing expenses. In some cases, the buyer may be eligible for up to one and one quarter point with no cap! For the above scenario of a $400,000 purchase price, the buyer could earn a credit of up to $4,500 to buy down the interest rate or to help pay for the closing expenses. In the event the CRA lender credit exceeds the total closing fees, buyers cannot walk away with cash from the closing.
What types of properties qualify? Single family homes, high- and low-rise condominiums, townhomes, 2-flats, and 3-flats. Commercial properties, 4-flats, second homes and investment properties do not qualify for CRA at this time. Caveat: In order for a buyer to qualify for CRA credit the buyer must owner-occupy the property.
What types of loans are available with CRA funds?
Conforming First Loans (Under $417,000)
- Fully Documented Loans
- Stated Income, Stated Assets Loan
- Fully Amortizing 30, 20, 15-Year Fixed, 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 10/1 ARMs
- Interest Only 30-Year Fixed, 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 10/1 ARMs
- 80-10-10, 80-15-5, 80-20 Programs
Is there a cap on how much buyers can earn in annual salary? No, there is no cap on annual gross income, at the moment.
There you have it. Time to jump off the fence, and enjoy the benefits of homeownership.
Information courtesy of Kristy Middling - Preferred Rate Chicago (a division of Guaranteed Rate, Inc.), and FFIEC.gov
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 10:15 PM
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Yes indeed. And surprisingly, the Chicago Tribune made this title their headline on page 1 of today's paper. We all knew it was coming eventually, and most of us Realtors® who are busy analyzing property values day-in and day-out, had an incling that property values, while not exactly on a steep decline, were stagnating at best, as evidenced by longer market times.
Seller's, don't despair though. In Chicago, we have not seen a total collapse of property values within at least the last thirty years. It's all just a market correction, imho.
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 8:14 PM
Thursday, April 06, 2006
The search for your very own Taj Mahal just got a little easier with the help of Google.
Let's say you're in the market to rent an apartment or to buy a home in Chicago, IL. Simply go to google.com and type in the phrase "Chicago real estate" (without the quotes.) You'll be presented with quite a bit of information to sift through. But now Google has introduced a nifty little feature that lets you filter your search and narrow things down a bit:
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 4:23 PM
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Interestingly, in 2005, the number of single family homes sold in Chicago decreased by roughly 500 units, whereas all other residential property types saw an increase in number of units sold vs. 2004.
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 11:02 AM
Sunday, January 22, 2006
But I digress. IDFPR has had for quite some time, a nifty little feature on their website that allows consumers (that's you, folks) to look up licensees. What for, you may ask. To see whether or not a real estate agent that you are planning on being represented by, has ever been disciplined in the past by IDFPR, complete with details. And believe you me, some of the findings are more juicy than any episode of "Desperate Housewives". Simply visit this page and browse through a list of who got fined for what. Happy peeking.
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 7:44 PM
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Now, aren't you glad you're not looking to buy in Naples?
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 12:03 AM
Friday, October 21, 2005
The part I liked best though is that on days when the Jacobsons' solar energy system produces excess energy (e.g. when they are on vacation), their special electric meter sends this information back to ComEd who, get this, buys the excess electricity from the Jacobsons. Says Mr. Jacobson, "That first year it amounted to $1.68, and ComEd asked if I wanted a credit on my bill or a check. I said, 'You send me a check - I've been paying utility bills for 20 years!' "
Way to go, Daniel and Diane.
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 9:50 AM
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Posted by Markus Azadeh at 10:55 PM