Has COVID19 helped the real estate industry or is it just me? 

I will never do business the same way again.

I haven’t felt creative for a long time. I used to thrive off coming up with the ultimate tag line, eloquent description of a home, or picture-perfect e-blast. However, the last few years have been exhausting. I have been working extraordinarily hard doing a ton of transactions but at what innovative cost? Business is good but when you aren’t inspired you are slowly fading.

COVID has brought something back into my life I lost a while ago, time. I’ve had time to think, time to cry, and time to feel. All things necessary in order to create. This has helped tremendously with how I interact, react, and approach clients and tasks. It has allowed me to go from checking the boxes to analyzing, understanding and appreciating again. It has shown me the light at the end of the microbe tunnel.

COVID has also brought time back to the real estate industry. Time to sell more homes in a way more efficient manner. We have always had Matterport and virtual tours but nobody looked at them, why? We thought it was a waste of time to view a 3D tour when you could jump in a car and see it in person. Was that the best use of our time? A few months ago the answer would have been, yes. But now we have discovered efficiency in the virtual world of touring homes. If a buyer can tour 10 homes in the safety of their living room and rule out 7 of them, why wouldn’t they? Scheduling, touring, and discussing those 7 homes takes a massive amount of time. Not just for agents, but for the sellers who need to get the home ready, the coop agents who schedule and show, and the buyer who carves out half of their day to see these homes. Why did it take a pandemic for us as an industry to realize this? We are dealing with the health issues of the virus but not the mental health of all involved that could have been enhanced by having all this time back. I for one, do not plan on going back in time to the prehistoric era of not looking at videos before previewing a home. I want all the time I can get, and you should too, for your health, family and friends.

We have a new way for selling homes, and I for one hope it sticks.

Berkshire Hathaway Takes It Virtual

Watch Video: BHHS Chicago: Innovation, Ideas and Determination

Berkshire Hathaway and the Dowell Group are adapting with the times, with video calls, virtual walkthroughs, and much more. Technology in today’s world is keeping business moving forward, allowing access to homes without leaving your front door, and keeping everyone’s safety a top priority. While we are forever grateful to have access to devices that allow us to stay connected, from Zoom to Facebook, Instagram, and practicing our moves on Tik Tok, we are finding the best way to stay really connected is with a simple phone call. Take the time to reach out to a loved one, friends and family, or a long lost acquaintance who has been in the back of your mind. You will be surprised what a simple phone call can do to brighten someone’s day.

Curbside Closings With Fort Dearborn

At Berkshire Hathaway, our affliated title company is Fort Dearborn. See this article below published in Crain’s about how they are handling touchless closings.

Close on your house from your couch: It’s a COVID-era innovation

Early in the COVID-19 crisis, title companies launched curbside closings, but that still required a bit of physical interaction with other people. Get ready for the next frontier.

Closing on a home purchase has long required a notary public to be in the room with the buyers to confirm that the people who sign the documents are who they say they are. But this spring, being in the physical presence of unrelated people has become a potential health threat.

Some Chicago title companies are launching no-touch closings, where the notary public witnesses the signing via camera, which allows all parties to be in their own private space during the closing.

Curbside closings are a thing now in real estate

Early in the COVID-19 shutdown, closings went curbside, allowing buyers to sit outside in their car while somebody carried the signed papers back and forth between them and the office. “That still involved some touch or physical involvement with someone,” said Joe Stacy, senior vice president and sales manager of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Chicago. “We had to get away from that.”

The tightly regulated legal steps that closing a loan involves are already stressful and one of the least enjoyable steps in buying a home; making people feel safe during the process is essential.

In early April, Berkshire’s title company, Fort Dearborn Title, did its first no-touch closing, where the notary, a Fort Dearborn closing officer, watched as the mortgage borrowers, sitting at home behind their camera-equipped computer, held up their driver’s licenses and then pointed the camera at the documents as they signed. The notary then provided legal verification of what’s known in the business as “wet signatures,” and the borrowers sent the paper documents in via overnight delivery. The title company will keep the video of the signing for three years.

Later that week, on April 10, Chicago Title started doing remote, on-camera closings, Vince Hearn, the company’s vice president and sales manager, said in an email.

An on-camera closing is possible right now because of guidance issued by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office in the wake of Gov. Pritzker’s March 20 stay-home order. It temporarily allows Illinois notaries to use Remote Online Notary methods that notaries in 23 states were already permitted to use in the normal business climate.

Brokerages took a few weeks to roll out on-camera closings in part because of getting secure technology set up, and because all parties in the transaction have to agree. “Some lenders don’t want to do it,” said Grace Chakos, senior vice president at Baird & Warner, “and some county recorders aren’t accepting the documents” that have been notarized remotely.

As of late Tuesday, Chakos said, the recorders of deeds in DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties had confirmed they will accept the documents but the Cook County Recorder’s office had not yet confirmed.

Baird & Warner’s title company, Landtrust Title Services, will do its first no-touch closings within the next several days, Chakos said.

Stacy said Fort Dearborn has done four no-touch closings since April 6 and has two more scheduled. All are refinancings, which he said are one step less complex than home-purchase closings because they don’t require the presence of an attorney, as a home purchase closing does in Illinois. He said a home-purchase closing that was scheduled for April 15 has been postponed but that the firm expects to schedule one soon.

At @properties’ title company, Proper Title, it’s not yet possible to do a remote notarization, Kathy Kwak, Proper Title’s vice president of title and escrow operations said in an email. Proper Title is using curbside closings while it sorts out the secretary of state’s guidance, lenders’ requirements and other details, she said, but on-camera notarization is “coming soon.”

Sky High Luxury Living in the Gold Coast

Looking to live the sky-high lifestyle?

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175 E Delaware #8301-2
3 Bed, 2.1 Bath
$1,250,000

Surround yourself with breathtaking views of the city and lake from the 83rd floor of 175 E Delaware. The combined unit creates an almost 3000 sq ft home great for entertaining, with open floor plans and separate massive master suite.

Click here for full details.

Stunning Andersonville Single Family Home Under Contract in One Week

 Click here to watch this video of our gorgeous single family home in Andersonville that went under contract in one week. 

The Dowell Group agents are experts on luxury living, whether it is new construction or rehabs, and can get a premium for your home. If you are looking to sell, there is a gap in the market and we have been selling homes for a premium.

Reach out today for your complimentary market analysis.

Vacant Land Ready to Develop, Bring Your Ideas.

2221 W Oakdale, Chicago - Vacant Land for Sale

Vacant land on the river ready to be developed. 1.84 acres with skyline views on an “L” shaped lot. Previously zoned for PD single family homes and townhomes. Close to Midtown, many groceries stores, Target, tons of restaurants. Environmentals completed. Bring your ideas!

 

Listed at $6,500,000

Luxury Listings

LUXURY LISTINGS

The weekend is here and our unique, luxury listings are ready to show! Contact us to schedule a showing for one or all of these amazing properties. Please see below. These homes are truly worthy of a quick read 🙂

 

 

360 E Randolph Unit 3604

4 Bedroom / 3 Bath

Listed at $1,499,900

 

 

 

 

Modern Masterpiece in the heart of East Lakeshore. This 2017 renovation is a corner unit with a sprawling open floorplan. Located in a full amenity building, this residence offers every convenience with a fabulous view.

 

 

2734 N Marshfield

5 Bedroom / 4.1 Bath

Listed at $1,499,900

 

 

 

 

BRAND NEW single family residence on a tree-lined Lincoln Park street! This beautiful brick and limestone exterior home is sophisticated with incredible detail throughout. Chefs kitchen with top of the line appliances and outdoor fireplace for cozy winter entertaining.

 

 

1936 N Wilmot

6 Bedroom / 5.1 Bath

Listed at $1,690,000

 

 

 

 

Not your typical single family home. Located on a double lot in a prime Bucktown location, this unique home is one of a kind. Extra wide floor plan with soaring ceilings, a stunning spiral staircase and exposed brick. Incredible side yard and roof deck amazing for gatherings in all seasons!

 

Please contact me to buy or sell your next home! Available 7 days a week for all your real estate inquiries @ 312-391-5655 or ddowell@thedowellgroupre.com.

Why Your Home’s Staging is Essential

 

Same room with Staging
Living Room without Staging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re asked at many listing presentations, “Why should I stage my home?” We get it! When you’re looking to net the highest profit, the last thing you want to do is incur more costs. That said, in this case the old saying of, “Sometimes you have to spend money to make money” is truer than ever. Staging your home peeks prospective buyers interest and lets them visualize themselves living in your home. Presenting a buyer with a staged layout is the one of the best ways of getting them to the next step of envisioning where their own furniture would go and picturing what their future looks like in your home.  

 

When selling your home perception is everything and staging is a tool that you as the seller can use to have more influence. Peaking imaginations with an organized, clean home and collection of cohesive furnishings not only accent the style and architecture of the dwelling, but also capture a larger audience and get more potential buyers to view your home in person. The more people viewing, the better chance of receiving an offer. The quicker you come to terms, the less you spend in holding costs. Seems simple enough, right? Well, as you are thinking this is an “investment”, so we all know that nothing is guaranteed. That said, here are a few stats on staging. 

 

Sell for a Higher Price: 

On average, Chicago listings that are staged sell for 4-6% higher than their non-staged competitors. An empty home can seem cold and be difficult for buyers to picture how the home could be laid out. Staging helps show the actual size of rooms and takes out the guess work. We want the buyers to imagine living in the home, not if their couch will fit in the living room. 

 

Sell Faster: 

A staged home will generally sell faster and receive more inquiries than a comparable home that is not staged. Buyers are generally viewing many homes and the more memorable your home is the better. When a buyer exits your home with a brochure filled with beautiful photos of your home, it is easier for them to recall it after viewing 10 other homes. Purchasing a home is based largely on “the feels” and staging can set the scene for those.  

 

Cost of Staging: 

The cost of staging your home is typically negligible to the price increase you yield for selling your home staged. Typical staging packages start as low as $2500 depending on the size of your home. While holding costs for every seller vary, staging to begin with takes out the guess work on multiple levels and eliminates an extended listing time should your home not sell and you decide a stage must happen later.  

 

Simply put, using a professional staging company highlights the layout of your home and adds a designer feel for a nominal price. No home is 100% perfect. However, staging helps to enhance the wonderful aspects and put a little lipstick on the funky parts. In these instances, things that we initially view as needing a bit of camouflaging, can turn into a charming addition. Our goal as your realtor is to give you not only the best advice, but amazing resources as well. Sometimes a home needs nothing more than a bit of decluttering and rearranging, in other instances a full stage in the best choice. We’re here to walk through your home and give our assessment & ideas to garner the most favorable outcome for you. The Dowell Group creates individual a marketing platform for each listing with the objective to yield more money in less time. Contact us today for an appointment at 312-391-5655 or ddowell@thedowellgroupre.com. With our expertise you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have done everything possible to procure a quick and profitable sale for your most valuable asset! 

 

Chicago Market Analysis: May-August

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chicago real estate market has experienced historic numbers this summer, so it’s no surprise that listing prices and sales figures have risen. In comparison to last year, the median sale price in the Lincoln Park, West Loop, and Lakeview neighborhoods have all increased 6% or more. For sellers, May-August in the Windy City has been quite fortuitous almost across the board.

Entering the summer market, the buzz around the city was that inventory was low. However, in all these areas the numbers tell a different story. All five neighborhoods included in this study (Lakeview, Lincoln Park, West Loop, Bucktown, and Downtown) saw 6.8% or more in new listings than the same time last year! Downtown leading the way with a 13.6% increase. While these figures are great for prospective buyers, it’s important to consult an agent and exam the stats of your area if you are a seller. Overflow of inventory does have the potential to affect median sales figures. The analysis of Downtown is an example of how a larger number of listings could possibly decrease sale prices. 

Overall, this summer market 2017 was strong with very limited stagnation that allowed prices to stay steady and/or increase in the majority of areas. As real estate professionals, we daily see how the market ebbs and flows, which makes us an excellent resource to our clients. If you’re considering selling your home or would like to learn more about the status of your neighborhood market and home value, please contact The Dowell Group today for a free comparative market analysis!