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.

We love a happy ending!

When good people work together, good things happen.

We love referrals! It’s such a strong boost of confidence when you know that someone believes in you enough to tell their friends and family about their experience with you. Recently, we received a referral from one of our top lenders, Joel Schaub. We have done business with Joel for years and we know that if anyone is working with him, we want to work with them too! Fast forward to our listing that just closed at 1735 W George in Lakeview. The sellers were using Joel to purchase in the suburbs but needed a city agent to sell their home for top dollar, enter The Dowell Group! We showed up with our Lakeview expert agents.

If you don’t know how our team operates, it goes like this. We give TWO agents to every seller and they meet both from the beginning. We do this because we want to be available for any showing or need that our clients may have. They can contact us 24/7 and expect a timely response. We specifically tailor our team expert groups based off area, personality, experience and needs of the potential seller.

However, back to the story… We instantly connected with them and their family (+2 more buns in the oven) and we left covered in dog kisses with our fingers crossed hoping we got the job. Little did we know but we were NOT the only ones invited to interview with this wonderful couple.  Fortunately, we beat out another top team in the city and were hired for the listing. We were so excited and even more so when we sold their home quickly and efficiently even when COVID hit. We had a lot of long talks and kept our fingers crossed that it would all work out, and it did. Thank you Mike & Katie for believing in us and congrats on your big family/home in the suburbs! We wish there were more out there like you.

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Atypical Single-Family Home in Ukrainian Village

Click here for your virtual walkthrough of this atypical single-family home in Ukrainian Village. 5 bedrooms, rooftop deck, yard, and in Mitchell school district. Priced at $1,250,000 Contact us today for a tour or to sell your home this way.


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.”

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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.

Current Listings

A handful of our February listings, many more coming soon.

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