Ask the Expert: Real Estate

February 7, 2008 9:08:24 AM PST
Michael P. Golden, Chicago Association of REALTORS, answers your real estate questions. 1) What are three great tips to preparing your home for sale?

My first piece of advice is to call your local Realtor and have them walk through your home with you. They are the experts and have walked through hundreds on homes and understand what will need to be done to maximize your home's salability - things like removing clutter, general cleaning, paint in areas that are beat up, fixing any leaks/water damage, etc will be high on their list, Curb appeal for single family homes (clean up the exterior and landscaping) are also valuable.

  • Call Realtor and conduct home walk through
  • Clean house, remove clutter, do repairs
  • Curb appeal, update exterior and landscaping
  • 2) What should consumers know about buying foreclosed properties?

    I would generally advise someone looking at a foreclosure to make sure there is a good inspection done on the property. Most of these properties are sold as-is and there is a greater chance of deferred maintenance since the past homeowner was struggling to make their mortgage payment, Plus, when people know they are loosing their home, they are less likely to take the same degree of care.

  • Conduct formal inspection prior to buying foreclosed property
  • 3) What makes this a great time to buy?

    Rates are at near record lows and sellers are very motivated to sell. When there is a high level of supply, as indicated by longer than average market times, sellers will be more flexible - we are likely seeing the best deals in real estate that we will see for years to come, if ever.

  • Rates are now at near record lows and sellers are very motivated to sell
  • 4) Just what does the implementation of the Real Estate City Transfer Tax mean?

    The Chicago City Council Finance Committee meets and is expected to approve a modification to the real estate transfer tax proposal. The change would exempt senior citizens from the tax. A committee spokesman said the change would have minimal bottom line impact because its believed most seniors involved in real estate transactions are sellers, not buyers, and this tax will be levied on the buyer.

    The transfer tax was mandated by the legislature as part of its CTA bailout package. If the committee approves, the transfer tax will move onto the city council Wednesday morning.

    What does the implementation of the Real Estate Transfer Tax mean?

  • Current City Transfer Tax is $7.50 per $1000.
  • With the proposed increase, the City Transfer Tax woul increase by $3.00 per $1000.
  • Applies to all residential and commercial purchases
  • Is paid for by the buyer