Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Chicago Home Prices Slowly Rise
11:14 am cdt
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.
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.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
New Formula Could Change Credit Scores
11:16 am cdt
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
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.
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.
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 Bankrate.com.
"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
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.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
1:46 pm cdt
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.
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
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Happy Memorial Day!
9:52 am cdt
Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Have a safe and fun weekend.
a big thanks to all of the people who serve and have served our wonderful military. We appreciate your service!
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
4:03 pm cdt
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
Welcome Home Illinois is funded through the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and Illinois Jobs Now!
home buyers can find additional information about the program and a list of lenders on the Illinois Housing Development Authority website.
What Happens at a Closing?
10:26 am cdt
Many of my first time buyers ask me what exactly happens at closing, and how long it usually takes.
Here is a brief outline of what happens at a closing table.
1) First, you will sign loan
documents. Your attorney will be there to explain all the documents you're signing, and to make sure the terms that you agreed
to in your Good Faith Estimate are the terms reflected in the loan documents.
2) Your attorney
will also review Seller's documents at that time, including a deed, affidavit of title (a promise from Seller that title is
clear), title policy or commitment that has been "waived" (showing that title is clear from liens and encumbrances)
and other pertinent documents for the title company. If you are buying a single family home, and a survey is being provided
by the Seller, that will also be reviewed at that time. Keep in mind when you purchase a foreclosed or short sale property,
a survey may not be provided at closing.
3) After your loan documents are signed, they
will be sent to your lender in order for them to review them. This may take a matter of minutes, or longer, depending on how
busy the lender is. There may be some waiting involved, and this is the wild card in guessing how long a closing may take.
Some closings will take an hour or two, some may take longer. There's no way for anyone to make an educated guess as to how
long it will take because of this.
Once the lender gives a funding "number",
or funding approval, you officially have your loan, and you're a homeowner! You will leave the closing table with copies of
all documents you signed, keys to the property, and possibly a refund check if you brought too much money to the table. I'll
blog more on this in the days to come, and give more detail.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I have been getting a lot of calls from clients to ask what they should do when they can't afford their
home. Please consult an attorney before you do anything. You DO have options. I can help!
2:10 pm cst
Friday, December 6, 2013
Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance Taking Effect This Month
4:31 pm cst
The City of Chicago has recently been named
the nation’s #1 city infested with bed bugs.
This summer, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance aimed at putting an end to the spread of bed bugs
which will go into effect on December 23, 2013.
The key Landlord responsibilities are as follows:
- To supply a tenant starting or renewing a lease with an informational brochure
- To maintain a written record of bed bug control efforts
- To send a written
notice to the tenant explaining their responsibilities before the inspection
- To provide
pest control services when bed bugs are found by a pest management professional as many times as necessary to eliminate the
- To inspect within 10 days and treat if necessary the
two units on either side as well as the two units above and below of the infested unit
Tenants also have responsibilities:
- To notify the landlord in writing of any
suspected or known infestation in the tenants’ unit, clothing, furniture or personal property within 5
- To notify the landlord in writing of any recurring or unexplained bites,
stings or sores suspected to be caused by bed bugs
- To cooperate with the landlord in
the control, treatment, and eradication of bed bugs including
- To grant access at reasonable
times upon reasonable notice for inspections and treatments/to not interfere
- To prepare
unit prior to treatment including: cleaning, dusting, vacuuming
- To properly dispose
of personal property that cannot be treated or cleaned before the pest control services
The Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance also mandates the disposal
of bedding, clothing, furnishings or other infested materials. For example, you may not place, discard or dispose
of any bedding, clothing or furnishings infested on the public way (i.e. dumpsters, sidewalks, hallways). To get rid
of infested items, you must enclose the item in a plastic bag and label it as infested. Doing so should prevent neighbors
from bringing to their home infested items, therefore stalling the spread of bed bugs.
Please note that this section of the ordinance does not apply to tenants
living in assisted living or a shared housing establishment, when the establishment provides assistance with daily living
will be enforced by the Department of Buildings and the Department of Public Health. If any person is found violating
the ordinance, that person may be fined $300.00 to $1,000 per day for each offense. By
complying with the ordinance, these fees can be avoided. The full ordinance can be found at www.cityofchicago.org. You can make a request for a City inspector here.