Keeping up with Chicago's North Shore Real Estate Market!

Contact Ann

call or text me: 847-691-1111 or email:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rocking the ages... redeux

Three years ago, I wrote a series on my blog called Rocking the Ages. In it I shared some thoughts about marketing ones' home to different generational cohorts.

Since that time, the National Association of Realtors has continued to publish its Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends. Their 2017 edition recently came out.  

Who are the buyers?

The majority of buyers today (62%) are under the age of 51.  

Of the Millennials:
66% are married couples
13% are unmarried couples

The Gen Xer's have the highest median priced homes of all other buyers and buy the largest homes in median square footage and bedrooms. They are looking for convenience to job, the quality and convenience of school districts.   

These two generational cohorts are the ones to whom we will be selling our wonderful North Shore homes over the next few years.   It pays to understand these folks.  

If you're thinking about selling this year -- take a look at my series about preparing your house for these generations -- particularly the 62%!   

This NAR report is fascinating in its detail.   You might want to look at it in its entirety!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

What's your type?

I've been doing this job for a while now. In the process I have worked with dozens of other real estate agents -- some incredibly professional, helpful and knowledgeable. And some not so professional, helpful or knowledgeable.

I remember talking about this with my office manager a few years ago. My lament went something like this, "I can't believe Suzie Q is a real estate agent -- she's a complete ditz. Why can't they screen people like this out of the business?"

My manager was older, wiser and far more charitable, when she said, "Ann there are all kinds of people in this world, so it takes all kinds of agents to make this work."

Like I said. She was wiser.

After that conversation, I began to notice something. Ditzy agents tended to have ditzy clients. Residential real estate is a very personal business. Buyers/Sellers tend to gravitate to agents with whom they feel comfortable. You don't need to take the Myers-Briggs Test to figure out who's your type -- you just know you found your type, when you meet them.

So what are some of the types of real estate agents?

All in good fun -- here are some types that I have seen....

The Rookie
This is the agent, who is just getting started in the business -- they just got their license and are eager to help and make things happen. I think buyers and sellers will get tremendous attention and support from the Rookie -- after all, you may be their only client. They may not know very much about complicated real estate transactions, but they tend to ask for help more often. To be their client is not a bad thing. You're going to get a lot of attention. However, to be the agent on the other side of the deal can be a little fatiguing. You yourself find in a position, where you have to explain things more often.

The Order Taker
This is the agent that basically just takes orders from their clients. As a result their listings are often overpriced, their clients refuse to accept acceptable offers, and the houses are rarely prepared to sell. Order Takers tend to have "know it all clients," who exhibit very little loyalty to their agent.  Order Takers will accept listings at the wrong price and then complain to other agents about how unreasonable their clients are.  As a Realtor, who is not very good at taking orders, I rarely find myself working with these types of clients -- at least, I'm rarely the first agent they pick. I had a potential deal with an Order Taker a few years ago. Negotiating on the other side was incredibly disappointing because the Order Taker was afraid of his client and wouldn't explain our offer to his seller.  Sad --  the house eventually sold four months later for substantially less than my client was offering.

The Analyst
This is the agent who looks at properties analytically -- they prepare spreadsheets that show price/sf by neighborhood and evaluate market time and market strategies. They are basically unemotional about the process and see it as just facts and numbers. The Analyst tends to work with like minded types of sellers - CFOs and CPAs -- people who want numbers and facts.

The Deal Maker
I love being on the other side with a deal maker. These are agents that really only care about the transaction .... sometimes at the expense of their clients. They bully and cajole their clients into taking a lower price or offering more money. They are pretty easy to negotiate with because they want the deal to get done and they push it through. Who are their clients? In general, I've noticed their clients tend to be a little passive and insecure. They like someone, who takes charge and tells them what to do.

The Senior
They've been in the business forever -- they've seen everything. They remember the good old days when Realtors owned the data and the Internet was only used by some government scientists. Working with a Senior can be fabulous and frustrating. They know the history of a house; the neighborhoods and how a contract can work in all sorts of situations... after all, they were around when mortgage interest rates hit 13% and agents had to figure out creative financing.  BUT -- The Senior can be frustrating, too.  In general they don't like technology. Texts, emails and electronic document exchange is impossible with them --- everything is paper, phone calls and faxes.   As someone who loves the ease of technology, I groan when I get a phone call from The Senior. Why can't they just send me a text? Their clients tend to be loyal fans, who would never change agents.

The Ditzy Agent
I have to be honest, I have the toughest time with the Ditzy Agent. They forget papers, their contracts are incomplete. The earnest money doesn't arrive on time.  They're late for showings. They don't respond quickly during negotiations. As someone, who likes to stay on top of things, these types of agents drive me batty. But like I said, Ditzy Agents tend to attract ditzy clients. So what came first -- the chicken or the egg? Maybe the agent is simply reacting to their client. Who knows?

The Prima Donna
These are tough agents. Regardless of your capabilities -- they know better and they want to make sure you know it. They are the ones that tell you your offer is "an insult" and yell at you if you challenge them. They run roughshod over everyone in their office and give real estate agents a bad name. Because their reputation proceeds them, they tend to attract similar types of clients, which makes negotiating a win-lose proposition. Deals with prima donnas rarely go smoothly, because everyone is miserable by the time you get to the close. I'm happy to say, my office has no prima donnas. They can kill a good real estate office -- they may be high producers, but at whose expense?

Obviously, there are many types of agents, because there are all types of people.  Find the agent that fits with your personality and needs.   According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), two-thirds of home buyers use the first agent they meet.  Therefore it’s not unusual for a buyer or seller to work with just any agent -- rather than finding the right agent.   There are hundreds of agents in our market -- some are amazing -- some are not.

Whether buying or selling real estate, hiring a great Realtor is your best option. I often meet clients who want to go it alone. They want to negotiate directly with the listing agent rather than have a buyers's agent.  Believe it or not -- putting a transaction together is lot more complicated than it appears to be, so personally I prefer dealing with other agents.  They understand the process and know what needs to get done -- consumers rarely do.

On my website I presented some criteria to consider when hiring an agent. Do your due diligence and find the right agent for you - seek them out and find your type!

checklist for selecting a real estate agent

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

How's the Market - as of March 1, 2017

I've lived in the Chicago area my whole never -- never have I experienced a February like that one.   Global Warming seems to real -- at least this winter. Although March seems to be coming in like a lion!

And how about real estate on the North Shore?   I can't speak for other agents, but I have sure have been busy this month!  I feel like the spring market started early and good things are around the corner!.

The first report shows units sold, the second presents the median prices.

The months of inventory on the first chart is a better way of measuring progress. Anything less than 6 months is considered a sellers' market -- anything more than 8 months is considered a buyers' market. With the exception of Lake Forest and Kenilworth, most of the North Shore looks pretty good.   Evanston, Wilmette and Northfield even seem to have a shortage of inventory.   Some of this is seasonal.  Often sellers take their homes off the market during the winter months, thus lowering the inventory levels.   

In the next chart, I show the high-end sales for each community. The highest sale this month was beautiful home built four years ago and is on Green Bay Road in Lake Forest,  south of Westleigh.

There are currently 186 houses for sale on the North Shore that are priced greater than $2M. During the month of February, 1 house closed in this price range:
Sold This Month
# for Sale
Highland Park
Lake Forest
Lake Bluff

Wishing you a pleasant March!

Source: MRED (Midwest Real Estate Data) Multiple Listing Service