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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 LGBTQ 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!
Greenview Drive, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
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.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Two Gorgeous Apartments for Rent 7/1
9:37 pm cdt
I have two beautiful, huge apartments for
rent in my building in Rogers Park. The 2nd and 3rd floor are both available for July 1. MLS #'s 07229801 and 07216803. Each
are 4 bedrooms, 2 baths with full, operable woodburning fireplaces, hardwood floors, french doors and windows, coved ceilings
and central heat and air.
2nd floor has a brand new kitchen and partially rehabbed baths. 3rd floor has one of the
baths fully rehabbed. These two apartments are about 2500 square feet each, larger than most homes.
See my Rentals Available section for more details at www.PreferredInvestorsRealty.com.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Closing is a Team Effort
10:56 pm cdt
I have the pleasure of doing some work with Fran Bailey who is a real estate agent for Baird and Warner out in Arlington Heights. She has an award-winning real estate blog and I
had the pleasure of being mentioned in her article titled "A Good Example of Why Bringing a Home Purchase to Closing
is a Team Effort." You can click here to see her blog and website but I have reprinted the article below:
I had a closing for a Lakeview condo that wouldn’t have happened for a few more days, if it weren’t for the extraordinary efforts of the
buyer’s mortgage consultant, Michael Polera and real estate attorney, Rachell Horbenko.
Condo financing is challenging in this market and even more so when a jumbo loan is involved. When the first
approach at financing hit a snag, Michael quickly reacted and restructured the financing to make it work. That presented new
challenges one of which was warranting the condo project for the second loan which could take up to 10 more business days.
With my buyers needing to be out of their rental by the end of the month, the
10 day delay threatened to leave the buyers without a home for a few days. Michael escalated the issue to Baird & Warner’s
VP of Financial Services who agreed that Baird & Warner would assume liability for warranting the condo project for the
Once financing was in place, Rachell discovered that the seller’s
attorney didn’t have the title ready and that there was an issue with the parcel identification number (PIN). Rachell
worked with the seller’s attorney and the issues were resolved.
was already booked with closings yesterday, but squeezed in this one before the others. When the closing ran long and Rachell
needed to leave for her next closing, she stayed in contact via texting.
and Rachell worked as a team and through all of this constantly kept each other, the buyers and I informed. Bringing a real
estate purchase to closing is truly a team effort with the numerous steps and organizations that are involved. When numerous
difficulties are encountered as with this sale, working with experienced and service driven professionals makes a world of
difference. Thank you Michael and Rachell for all you did for my buyers!"
to Fran for the kudos! She also didn't mention all the hard work she did for the buyers as well!!!
More on Improving Your Credit Score
7:52 am cdt
I've been writing a lot about improving your credit score because my girlfriend is buying a home
and needed to improve her score. She came to me and asked how she could do it. That got me thinking about improving my own
score. My score isn't bad, it's in the low 700's, but it could be better. I started looking at my credit cards (the many that
I have!) and the balances that I'm carrying. I'm so jealous of those people who don't carry a balance!
Lenders are even more demanding about credit scores. In the yesteryear of lending, you needed about a 720
in order to get the best rates. Now that number is up to 740 or higher. It's a similar deal with car loans. Now a 700 score
may cost you up to 1.5% in your rate - if only your credit were 20 or 40 points higher!
can you do it? Reduce the ratio of credit card debt tot he total amount of credit available to you. If you owe $2,000 to a
$15,000 credit limit, your ratio would be about 13%. Pay off enough to get below 10%, and you could boost a 707 credit score
as much as 50 points!
Also avoid using your cards in a month where you'll be applying for
the loan. Even if you pay your balances at the end of the month, it takes time for the credit bureaus to update, and it may
still look like you have those balances on the cards when the lender pulls your credit.
you can't pay off the debt you can also ask the issuer of the card to raise your limit to decrease your ratios. For example,
the $1,500 balance on the $12,000 card is about 12.5%. Raise the limit to $15,000 and suddenly you're in the 10% zone. Even
though you've been hearing in the news that credit card issuers are cutting credit, they are still offering it to the good
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit Can Be Used as a Down Payment!
2:38 pm cdt
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development just announced yesterday that the Federal Housing
Administration (FHA) is going to permit lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit they are receiving as a
Until this, most buyers weren't going to receive the money until they filed
their tax return which kept some buyers from taking advantage of the credit.
time buyers or buyers who have owned a principal residence in the last 3 years are eligible for this benefit and they must
close between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. As long as you remain in the purchased home or three years, the credit
does not have to be paid back. The credit is reduced or eliminated for higher-income taxpayers. Joint filers must have a gross
income of $149,999 or below; single filer must not realize more than $74,999 in gross income to receive the credit.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Developers Start Suing Buyers Who Back Out of Sales Contracts
9:11 am cdt
So another sign of the times is finally here. The developers at Museum Park (which includes a total
of 823 units between 1600 Museum Park, 1400 Museum Park and One Museum Park) have started filing suit against about 100 homeowners
who have failed to close on contracts in the development overlooking Grant Park. These suits are seeking retention of earnest
money and half of the cost of any upgrades that were selected by the buyer. They have seen about 25% of their deals fall apart,
up from about 10-15% last spring.
I have represented a couple of buyers who walked away
from their deals for a variety of reasons: market decrease, job loss, inability to get financing, etc. and all of them have
come to a settlement with the developer.
The developer has already won about half the cases
through settlements or court rulings.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Lots of Potential New Homebuyers Still on the Fence
7:45 pm cdt
I want to preface this blog by saying this is just my personal opinion based on what I am seeing
in the market. I don't have a crystal ball as to the future, but I do have a very strong opinion about what I am writing about
I have a client who sold his condo in the suburbs and moved to the city. He's a wonderful
single guy who I've known for a long time, and I'm all for his relocation to the city. However, he moved here, from home
ownership and started to rent. I've been trying to convince him for the past six months that it's time to buy. Yet he
gives me excuses, like "The bottom hasn't fallen out yet." or "I'm afraid of job security."
Look, I'm not saying in these times, that these are not legitimate concerns....BUT. Can you live you life on the
"what if's"? I'm all for being cautious. But the longer you put things on hold, the better the market is going to
get - FOR SELLERS. The higher prices and rates are going to be. If you sit around and wait for job security or the "right
time", guess what? You are going to be missing out on the best time to buy probably in many people's lifetimes, and that
big fat tax credit that the Federal Government is offering.
Do what is right for you, but keep
in mind that life is best lived in the present. And as always, hire competent people to work with you!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Foreclosures Rise in Suburbs, Decline in the City
9:46 pm cdt
For the first time in a year, foreclosure numbers in Chicago dropped 8%, but home foreclosures surged
in the suburbs of Chicago. Foreclosure cases in DuPage, Will, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties jumped between 25% and 70% from
the fourth quarter, according to numbers provided by the Woodstock Institute, a Chicago-based housing advocacy group.
Across the six-county Chicago metro area, foreclosure filings rose 6% in the first quarter to 17,819, the
highest one-quarter total since the housing crisis first began in mid-2006.
While the first
wave of foreclosures hit the poorer neighborhoods drowning in high-interest adjustable rate loans, the ripple effect is extending
to middle-class neighborhoods where people qualified for standard rate mortgages.
one in five homes along the Fox River from North Aurora to Elgin is listed for sale as a foreclosure or short sale.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
When is a Short Sale Offer Accepted?
6:17 pm cdt
I've been doing a lot of short sale representation lately, for both buyer and seller. The question
always comes up as to when the offer is accepted. The term "pre-foreclosure" is very deceiving, and frankly, there's
really no such thing. You're either in the foreclosure process, or you're not.
a short sale occurs, the Seller is still the owner of the property, so when the owner as the Seller signs the Contract, it
is considered accepted. The Contract is simply subject to bank approval. The Contract can be written, or a Rider can be attached
to state that the deadlines in the Contract don't begin to toll until the offer is approved by the lender, but the Contract
is still "accepted."
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Don't Forget About the First-Time Buyer Tax Credit!
8:19 am cdt
First time homebuyers accounted for more than 41 percent of the purchases
of homes in 2008. Keep in mind that all first time homebuyers are entitled to a tax credit for their purchase. The tax credit
is 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000 for homes purchased between January 1 and before December 1, 2009. No repayment
is required as long as you own the home for three years. If the tax credit is more than the first time homebuyer's liability,
the buyer will get a refund check for the balance. Income limits do apply.
Also FHA, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae
have reinstated some new loan limits. The limits are equal to the greater of 125 percent of the 2008 local median income home
price of $271,050 for FHA. In some higher cost areas of Illinois, the FHA loan limits will go up to $410,000 - in Chicago,
for example. Loan limits are $417,000 for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in Illinois.
Don't forget if you
live in a condo building where you're trying to sell to think about getting rid of the right of first refusal - FHA buyers
will not be able to buy your condo otherwise...