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Violet and I

Chicagoland real estate purchases, real estate sales, short sales, foreclosures, first-time buyer representation, Illinois condominium association representation, estate planning for everyone, powers of attorney, quit claim deeds, landlord/tenant issues, forcible detainer/evictions, civil unions, foreclosure defense and more...

This office serves clients in real estate transactions of all types. I also assist clients with estate planning for everyone, including the GLBT community, and represent Illinois condominium associations as needed. I help real estate investors who are renting their properties deal with difficult renter issues, and I advocate for renters dealing with difficult landlords.
I work with clients in Chicago and all over the Chicagoland area, including Wilmette, Skokie, Morton Grove, Plainfield, Wheaton, Glencoe, Lake Forest, Naperville, Oak Park, Winnetka, Des Plaines, Orland Park, Berwyn, Carol Stream, Arlington Heights, Crystal Lake, Barrington, Palatine, Park Ridge, Gurnee, South Holland, Park Forest and more.

My goal is to give each and every client personal, friendly and competent service at a reasonable price. I also strive to use technology in the best way possible to keep my clients informed.
My legal background includes working for a major Chicago developer and working for a boutique firm in their real estate division. I am also a landlord of a three flat building in Rogers Park and I am managing broker of a small real estate brokerage.
I work with all different types of clients, including developers, first-time buyers, buyers of second (or third!) homes, all sellers and the gay, lesbian and transgender community.

My real estate blog is below. Please make sure to check back on a regular basis to check out what's new. I update my blog about once a week and welcome any questions that you may have.
Ask me too about help with personal injury, divorce, and any other legal issues! 

7527 N. Seeley Avenue, Suite 1, Chicago, IL 60645
773.818.9054 office/cell
866.381.4238 efax

Recommend my site by clicking here!

Check out my interview, Expert Advice on Buying a Foreclosed Home on Illinois Homes, one of the top sites for Illinois homes for sale, including Wheaton, IL real estate. Illinois Homes also services Michigan homes for sale and Pennsylvania homes for sale.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Housing Forecast for 2015

Things are looking up for the economy and the housing market in 2015; however, there are still a lot of would-be buyers on the fence who are afraid another slump like the one that started in 2007 may happen. Unemployment is down, the markets are up, and most importantly, so far for 2015, rates are still very low. Unfortunately for some would-be buyers, lenders are still making it difficult to qualify for a loan.

Lending guidelines have also changed since before the slump. Lenders are much more cautious when they are considering borrowers and a good credit score is important now more than ever. Also, having sufficient assets to cover closing costs and an "emergency" fund to cover costs in case of a job loss are things that lenders are looking for when loaning money to buy a home. Being self-employed also presents challenges in obtaining a loan. Lending became extremely strict after the market slump, and for the most part, continues to be prohibitive for people with lower credit scores. There are also not many loan products out there for people who want to put 10% or less down on a property. Fannie and Freddie are considering introducing a product that would allow buyers to put only 3% down. Right now the only product that allows buyers to do this is the FHA loan, which is at 3.5% down but with a large up-front PMI.  If FHA doesn't reduce their upfront PMI, the new product by Fannie and Freddie may make them obsolete again.

Make sure that you consult with a loan officer before you get out there to look for properties and get your financial house in order. Get pre-approved, know what your credit score is, and choose an agent and an attorney who are knowledgeable about the market. 

12:17 pm cst 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tip for Purchasing a Foreclosed Property

Happy New Year!

A quick tip for purchasing a foreclosed property: Try to have an attorney review the paperwork and addendums from the bank BEFORE you sign. This is the only case where you should have an attorney review real estate contract paperwork before you sign it, because there is typically no formal attorney review in these types of deals. Make sure you have a mortgage contingency if you are obtaining a mortgage, and that you know up front if you will be paying any of the Seller's fees for them. 

3:33 pm cst 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Should you Buy or Sell This Year?
Home prices are up. The median existing home price in June $223,300, up from 4.3% in June 2013. The average sales price of a new home that sold in June 2014 was $331,400. 3.5 million homes in the U.S. rose out of negative equity from 2013 to 2014 due to rising home prices. In the past year, existing home and condo sales rose 11% to 5.29 million, close to the highest level in 4 years. Sales of new single-family homes rose 8.3% in June. Existing home sales increased 2.6% in June 2014, and have reached the highest sales pace since October 2013.
11:46 am cdt 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chicago Home Prices Slowly Rise

From today's Chicago Tribune:

Home prices gains slowed in the Chicago area and in most of the nation in June, and for the first time since February 2008, 20 cities showed lower annual rate of improvement than the previous month, according to a widely watched housing market barometer.

In the Chicago area, home prices rose 1.4 percent in June, compared with a 1.5 percent uptick in May, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Year-over-year, that made for a 6.6 percent increase.While home prices nationally are back at their pre-housing market bust levels of autumn 2004, in the Chicago area they are at their spring 2003 levels. Still, June represented the fourth consecutive month that local home prices have topped their previous month.Nationally, June home prices in the 20 cities included in the index were up 1 percent in June, from May, equaling a 8.1 percent increase from June 2013.

11:14 am cdt 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Formula Could Change Credit Scores

The company responsible for one of the most widely used measures of credit health is making changes to its current model that could boost credit scores nationwide.

In an announcement on Thursday, analytics and decision management firm FICO said its new credit model, FICO Score 9, "introduces a more nuanced way to assess consumer collection information," resulting in greater precision for lenders measuring a borrower's credit stability. The model will be available to lenders through the country's various reporting agencies starting in the fall.

"FICO Score 9 uses a more refined treatment of consumers with a limited credit history and those with accounts at collection agencies, so that lenders can grow their credit and loan portfolios more confidently," said Jim Wehmann, EVP for Scores at FICO.

The key difference in the new model is that strikes from medical collections will have a lower impact, reflecting the relatively low level of credit risk they represent. From just that change, the company expects the median FICO score will increase by 25 points among consumers whose only credit dents come from unpaid medical debts.

FICO isn't alone in its push to reassess how medical debts are reflected on a borrower's credit profile. In May, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the results of a study finding that credit scores may underestimate creditworthiness by as much as 10 points for consumers owing on medical costs and by up to 22 points for consumers who have repaid their debt.

Often, consumers aren't even aware their debt has been sent to collections, CFPB said.

Another change in the FICO Score 9 model is that it will also discount any overdue payments that have already been made, leaving only unpaid collections as a mark.

While the changes may have a significant impact on approval rates for credit cards and auto loans, the effects will be more subtle for borrowers and lenders in the mortgage space, says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for personal finance website

"These changes are going to be a positive for consumers, but it's not something that moves the goalposts," McBride said in a phone call. "These changes aren't going to take a consumer with bad credit and suddenly make them appear as if they have good credit."

Rather, for consumers whose credit scores sit on the threshold between poor, adequate, or good, the expected boost could make a difference in terms of required down payments or interest rates.

The Score 9 model also promises to help lenders make decisions on consumers with little to no credit history—though McBride doesn't expect to see an immediate impact in mortgage approvals for credit-lacking millennials.

However, if those young consumers have an easier time securing lines on smaller loans, however, that could balloon out into the mortgage space in the future.

"You [have to] knock over the dominoes," McBride said.

11:16 am cdt 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

From Crain's Chicago:

MTV's "The Real World" show, where seven strangers move into a building together and allow cameras to film the inevitable drama for all the world to see, wants to set up shop in the Randolph-Fulton area in the West Loop.


An affiliate of Van Nuys, California-based Bunim/Murray Productions is planning to film an edition of the long-running reality show at 1100 W. Randolph St., according to people familiar with the project.


"The Real World's" designs for the property is another marker of growing out-of-town interest in the fast-changing neighborhood, which has become a magnet for restaurant operators, real estate investors and tech firms, including Google Inc.


On June 20, the Bunim affiliate is scheduled to discuss its plans before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, according to the panel's agenda for this month. The firm must obtain special permits to allow for “a seven-bed, temporary, group living residence” in the property, the agenda shows. A message left for an executive at Bunim, a unit of French production firm Banijay Group, was not immediately returned.


The production company said in an application to the city it plans to use the property for five months at most, shooting the show over a 12-week period.


Alterations it wants to make to the property, like a new paint job, lighting, security cameras and greenery, “would be compatible with the character of the neighborhood — we want this building to embody Chicago,” the application says.


The Bunim affiliate also wants to build shower stalls in the property and a kitchen, the application shows. Security guards will be present 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


The company has held casting calls in Chicago to find people willing to star in the forthcoming show, according to news reports. MTV broadcasts "The Real World."


In 2001, a season of "The Real World" was filmed in Wicker Park, with the building at 1934 W. North Ave. serving as the cast's home base.


The production drew protesters to the building, one of whom yelled at show participants that the crowd wanted to “to liberate you from the agents of unreality,” according to a Chicago Reader story.


For its latest Chicago show, "The Real World" will occupy a property owned by a venture of veteran New York retail broker David Firestein, who declined to comment.


Greg Kirsch, executive managing director in the local office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank who's handling leasing at the property, didn't respond to a phone call. 

1:46 pm cdt 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Have a safe and fun weekend.

And a big thanks to all of the people who serve and have served our wonderful military. We appreciate your service! 

9:52 am cdt 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

3:47 pm cdt 

The Spring Market Is Here!
If you have not already considered it, and you're in the market, talk to a real estate agent about selling your home. Buyers are out there in the nice weather looking for homes to buy, and inventory is very low. You may be able to sell your home for more than you thought!
1:05 pm cdt 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Illinois Offers a New First-Time Homebuyers Program

First-time home buyers in Illinois could receive further assistance in the process with a new loan program.

A new program, Welcome Home Illinois, will allow qualified first-time homeowners the opportunity to receive $7,500 toward the down payment or closing costs as well as a 3.99 percent interest rate on a secure 30-year fixed mortgage. Governor Pat Quinn announced the program Tuesday.

Borrowers must be first-time home buyers or haven't owned a home in the past three years, contribute the greater of 1 percent of the overall purchase or $1,000 toward the down payment and have a credit score of at least 640.

Welcome Home Illinois is funded through the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and Illinois Jobs Now!

Interested home buyers can find additional information about the program and a list of lenders on the Illinois Housing Development Authority website.

4:03 pm cdt 

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